Live Review: Miranda Lambert (Eventim Apollo, London)

Ciara Headlines, Live Review

It was a Wednesday evening, and I was tired. What better way to wake myself up than a country music concert? And not just any country concert at that, but the Queen herself, Miranda Lambert. To be honest, I was surprised that the event was talking place at the Eventim Apollo, one of London’s medium size venues. She could easily sell out the O2 as many of her counterparts have done before.

Kicking the night off was Ward Thomas, who started their set with a literal bang as drum beats filled the speakers. Their set was much the same as usual (and you can read more of my Ward Thomas reviews here and here) but with the addition of new song Breathe In, a gentle acoustic track which I found a welcome break from many of their poppy, ‘clap-along’ songs like Boomerang and Cartwheels. What the new song did well was highlight their impressive vocals, so I’m interested to see what their next album holds. Nevertheless, it was clear that they are crowd favourites as each song ended with raucous applause and standing ovations from some.

The standing continued, and didn’t stop, when Miranda hit the stage – her music is not the type you want to sit down during – instead the crowd were dancing and swaying to each song, an energy I love to see at any kind of concert. She walked on exuding cool vibes in a blue fringed top and blue guitar complete with diamond strap before launching into Fastest Girl In Town. Given that this was the ‘Highway Vagabond’ Tour, I had anticipated that most of the songs would be from her latest (absolutely brilliant) album ‘The Weight of These Wings’ but the set appeared to be more of a Greatest Hits type. I can’t say I minded at all.

We hit real nostalgia in second song Kerosene released when she was only 21 years old so it was nice to see her old songs still getting a lot of love from the crowd. Just in case we forgot what kind of gig we were at, we were greeted with a hearty ‘Hey y’all’ and a good old drinking song – Heart Like Mine. Looking around, not one person wasn’t singing, true dedication to a country legend.

'The Weight Of These Wings' Album Review

‘The Weight Of These Wings’ Album Review

“She finishes the album a transformed woman, stronger for having been broken; still the shit talking, whiskey drinking, cigarette smoking, firearm wielding fourth wave feminist outlaw queen of Texas she always was, but maybe you can add puppy cuddling, boyfriend snuggling, low-calorie cocktail drinking and quiet nights into that list now too.”

Read the review here

The next section of the set was dedicated to ‘The Weight of These Wings’ beginning with Highway Vagabond, We Should Be Friends and my favourite song of the night Vice which somehow made more sense to me when sung live than it had ever done before. All the time, Miranda looked like she was enjoying herself, working the stage and getting the audience to join in with choruses.

If I had to use one word to describe the concert, it would be ‘powerful’ and this was particularly evident in strong songs like Baggage Claim, Over You (a song which breaks my heart every time I hear it) and All Kinds of Kinds. Raw emotion ballad The House That Built Me generated the biggest cheer, and again, made it clear that such songs were of real importance to events that had affected Miranda in the past. Whilst her latest album is varied in itself, getting to hear tracks from her entire discography proved how versatile an artist she is, dealing with any content and style that she wants.

The pace picked up again with Pink Sunglasses in which her cool outfit was completed by a pair of (definitely more than $9.99) pink sunglasses. This was a song a lot of us had been waiting for, and audience members hastily pulled their own pink sunglasses out of bags to join in the fun. The party continued as Miranda poured herself a glass of whiskey and invited us to toast to failure and when things go bad. She quoted her own divorce, a little bit of drinking too much, and then things getting better – no song better to follow this speech than Ugly Lights which transitioned halfway through into the brilliantly fun Mama’s Broken Heart. Here, she showed her crazy (watch the music video, it’s fantastic) as did we all. We’d come out to have a good time and she wasn’t disappointing.

One thing I always appreciate at gigs is when artists introduce their bands, but Miranda went beyond, referring to them as ‘family’ and encouraging huge cheers for everyone even if we didn’t know where they were from. This request was obliged but backing singer Gwen Sebastian (you might recognise the name from Blake Shelton’s My Eyes) got a mega cheer, and the cheer for her Essex-born steel guitar player went on for a good two minutes.

Moreover, the stage was let over to Gwen briefly to sing her new single Cadillac, something I don’t think I’ve ever seen at a concert before which was really lovely. We were inundated with special guest singers as Miranda’s boyfriend Anderson East then appeared on stage to duet Getaway Driver, but in a very different manner to how I’d heard it before – much slower with Anderson singing with an almost tortured expression. They clearly bring out creativity in each other and it was nice to watch their chemistry.

Next up was the second song of Miranda’s I’d heard – Automatic (I know, I was late to the party), a song I was really glad made it on to the setlist given her plethora of tracks to choose from. This was followed by the first song of hers I’d heard and admittedly hadn’t liked too much – Little Red Wagon – perhaps it’s always been a bit too rocky for me, but honestly, the way she performed it made it so enjoyable I found myself getting a new appreciation for it as I left the gig.

The main set ended with two edgy and very fun songs, White Liar and Gunpowder and Lead, the latter of which I hadn’t realised had been written in response to Miranda meeting domestic violence victims – definitely changes the way I think about it! The band then left the stage but thankfully not for to long as Miranda then returned to ask us to wish her parents a happy 39th wedding anniversary via video and then dedicated her penultimate song to them for encouraging her to pursue music. This was what I’d been waiting for, my favourite song of the moment, Tin Man, and it couldn’t have been more perfect with just Miranda and her guitar.

The band wasn’t forgotten though, and everyone came back on stage to sing Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, highlighting their instrumental talents and vocals. By the end of the night, I was fully awake and happy from a thoroughly enjoyable gig. This may have only been her second time playing in the UK, but as long as she keeps coming back, we’ll keep spending money to go to more country gigs!

I hope you enjoyed this review! If you’re a fan of Miranda or Ward Thomas, or saw them on tour, I’d love to know what you thought. There’s lots more reviews and interviews to come so be sure to follow us on Twitter @CiarasCountry & @nashoverhere and drop a message with your comments or what gigs we should head to next!

More Information

Birthday

10 November 1983


Birthplace

Lindale, TX


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About the Author

Ciara

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Hi! I'm Ciara, long time country music fan, host of 'Ciara's Country' on Purple Radio, and blogger on a mission to bring country music to a wider audience in the UK by proving it's not all about trucks and banjos! I love all kinds of contemporary country, from big Nashville names to the latest UK artists – I'll listen to just about anything. You can normally find me reviewing and interviewing artists at any country music gigs I can find in London or scouring social media looking to find the next big thing!