Music sets you free, especially live music.  I haven’t been feeling very well recently and if I hadn’t had my friend’s tickets I would not have gone to this concert.  I knew I would feel better when I got there, but I still didn’t want to go.

Met my friends in the pub and still wasn’t feeling it.  We left the pub earlier than we would do normally because Luke Combs was playing this venue two nights running and both nights were sold out!  Also, people were going as much to see Ashley as they were Luke, so we arrived earlier to try and make sure we got a decent spot.

Got in, got sorted and got a reasonable spot – I still wasn’t feeling it.  Ashley walked on with her guitar in her hand, all of a sudden, my sofa seemed a million miles away and BANG! I was right where I wanted to be (see what I did there?)

I had seen Ashley at the C2C Festival in March on the Indigo stage and again on the Satellite stage.  Both times she absolutely owned it and she owned it again tonight.  You have to ask why she was just support, but then next week we will be seeing her as the main act.

A girl in the audience yelled “We love you!” to which Ashley responded “I love you too!”  She sang Bible & a .44, and then apologised for singing such a sad song and that she had made some of us cry, but she was happy that we could have that moment together!  After Living Next to Leroy, Ashley asked if she was the only one drinking; lots of beer glasses were held aloft, to which Ashley said a Holler & Swaller was in order!

She sang a song written by her friend Lisa Carver, Whiskey & a Gun, saying she liked to sing some dark stuff now & again.  She said we probably wouldn’t know it, but that is ok, because by the end we would. Also, if she forgot the words that was fine, because we don’t know it!  She followed this with Jolene, saying she doesn’t normally do many covers any more, but she fancied doing this.  The freedom of being on stage with just you & your guitar, if you want to mix it up and do something different you can!

For her last song of the evening American Scandal, Ashley said she had been asked if it was a love song or a cheating song, she said she wasn’t sure as she didn’t know the difference!

 

Photo credit Jon Saunders

Ashley said that Luke had told her she could have an hour. Don’t know what happened because in a flash she had finished. My highlight was Fat and Famous. When I saw her at the Indigo at the O2, she was already singing this song so I didn’t know the story behind it – I just assumed she was singing about an ex. How wrong was I?  She was invited to her High School Reunion a few years back and was asked to write and perform a song to commemorate it.  Don’t think Fat and Famous was what they had in mind but it was what they got!!  Sounds as if Ashley had a similar experience at High School as Angeleena Presley!

It was a great performance, Ashley told stories, sang beautiful songs and most of the audience lapped it up.  Unfortunately there was the issue with background noise, but that does seem to go with the territory nowadays!  It was a good taster for what is to come next week when we go to see her!

In the interval it was absolutely heaving so we took turns to save our spot, one went for a beer, then one went to the ladies and vice versa.  Getting back to my spot was really tricky and involved a lot of “excuse me pleases” – and at one point – my elbow when a girl steadfastly refused to move!!

By the time I got back Luke was already on stage.  He said he and his band had been on the road for pretty much 3 years & he wanted to not just write a song about it, but a song in the style of Brooks & Dunn. Honky Tonk Highwaywas born and even contains the words ‘Boot Scooting Boogie’. Made me think, wouldn’t it be awesome if Brooks & Dunn were the ‘Oldies’ spot at C2C?

Luke asked who was drinking beer and said for us to raise our glasses if we were, again several glasses were raised aloft.  He dedicated the next song Beer Canto those of us drinking beer and who had been working their arse off to earn the money to pay for the beer!

He told us he is 28 years old now and taught himself how to play the guitar when he was 21. When he moved to Nashville he was told he needed to write better songs and no-one was ever going to come and see him sing his songs. This sounds very much like the experience Ashley had!  At one point he was in a room with a lady and he played her 2 songs – She Got the Best of Me & Can I Get an Outlaw. Of those two people who were in the room, one sold out two nights in London, the other got fired!  This resulted in a huge cheer.

In between each song, Luke told a story about how the song came into being, almost like a Songwriters night.  He told a story about stealing beer and cigarettes from his parents when he was younger and how cool they all thought they were.

Before singing When It Rains It Pours,Luke said he always likes to ask a question beforehand, it is a two-part question; a) have you ever broken up with anyone or b) been broken up by someone AND it was the best thing that ever happened to you?  Judging by the huge cheer that went up, a lot of us had!

For This One’s for Youthe band left the stage for the first half, coming back for the second half. The crowd really were singing every word of this song, Luke said it is the song that keeps him grounded and reminds him of where he came from.

Photo credit Jon Saunders

He said how cool it was to see his name on shirts and hats, but how it wasn’t just him, there were hundreds of people that worked to make it all happen.  He introduced the band, allowing each member to play solo for a little bit. One of his guitarists had been given a cardboard mask of Luke’s face and was clowning around with it on and even played his part with it on!  At the end of the evening Luke signed all the cardboard masks!

A big bottle of JD suddenly appeared on stage. Luke opened it, took a slug straight from the bottle and then passed it round the band!

After Hurricane, the song which Luke said changed his life, he and the band left the stage.  The crowd were positively roaring for more, we were not finished with him yet!  He came back and spoke about how his songs were his children and how he shouldn’t have favourites, but he does.  He also talked about being horribly jet lagged and talking to his bus driver for 2 hours about everything under the sun. Can’t help but feel jealous of the bus driver!

Photo credit Jon Saunders

What an absolutely lovely guy Luke Combs is. He had impressed me at C2C but tonight he proved it wasn’t a one off, he genuinely is a lovely guy. At one point he passed his drink (near on a full pint of what I can only presume was a JD and Coke) down into a member of the audience – I later found out it was passed to Charlotte Coles & Keely Beecroft, who went to every single show & were front row for every single show!  Something else that really impressed me too was he said that we had all bought our tickets and it was their job to entertain us and to make sure that we got the full value for our ticket money. I don’t think I have ever heard an artist something along those lines although obviously it is very true.

Both Luke and Ashley seemed very humble as the crowd were singing the words of their songs back to them. Luke also said that he had been asked in interviews several times what the difference was between the US audience and the UK audience. He said his response is the UK audience go for the music and the crowd sing back every word to every song, and said that he could see that’s what we were doing that night.

I was sure glad I had bought those tickets, not my friend! What an amazing night I nearly missed!

 

 

Ashley McBryde Set List

 

Rattlesnake Preacher

Radioland

The Jacket

Bible & a .44

Fat and Famous

Living Next to Leroy

Girl Going Nowhere

Whiskey & a Gun (Lisa Carver cover)

Jolene (Dolly Parton cover)

I’ve Been Everywhere (Johnny Cash kinda cover – she mixed it up a little & sang some different words!)

Luckiest S.O.B.

A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega

American Scandal

 

 

Luke Combs Set List

 

Beer Never Broke My Heart

Honky Tonk Highway

Must’ve Never Met You

Beer Can

One Number Away

Dive (Ed Sheeran cover)

Can I Get an Outlaw

Don’t Tempt Me with a Good Time

A Long Way

When It Rains It Pours

This One’s For You

Take It Easy/Should’ve Been a Cowboy/Chasing That Neon Rainbow/Take it Easy

We Can Sheriff We Want To

She Got the Best of Me

Hurricane

Encore:

Beautiful Crazy

Let the Moonshine

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