Belfast Telegraph

Review: Nashville In Concert keepin 'er country at Belfast's SSE Arena

By Jackie Bell

The stars of the hit series Nashville closed the UK and Ireland leg of their world tour at the SSE Arena in Belfast on Tuesday night.

Clare Bowen (Scarlett O'Connor), Charles Esten (Deacon Claybourne), Chris Carmack (Will Lexington), Jonathan Jackson (Avery Barkley), and Sam Palladio (Gunnar Scott) took to the stage for almost three hours of hits from the show plus their own original material.

Charles Esten was given the task of performing first - singing Buckle Up as a cold open for the crowd.

But if the singer was worried about performing for an audience not yet warmed up he shouldn't have been because it was clear this crowd was ready for a country music party.

"Hello Belfast, I think there's definitely some cowgirls here tonight - and it looks like you came here for a good time!" Chris Carmack said as he arrived on stage to perform soon after.

The singer performed What If I Was Willing and Being Alone, with Carmack's sound clearly the most traditional of the ensemble as he showcased his musical talents throughout the night both on the guitar and saxophone.

Clare Bowen and Chris Carmack. (Rollins PR)

Next up was Jonathan Jackson who arrived to huge cheers and left to delighted screams as he performed Keep Asking Why and a cover of the U2 and Bob Dylan song Love Rescue Me.

With a more rock influenced sound amid the country music, Jackson was a stand out performer on the night with truly unbelievable vocals carrying through the vast space of the SSE Arena.

Next up was Sam Palladio, who surprised the audience with a new hair colour and an English accent as many are often surprised to find he doesn't possess the Texan drawl of his character Gunna

Palladio was only available to perform at a selection of the concert dates during this leg of the tour and the Belfast crowd were in for a treat as he sang I Will Fall and an original track Hello Heartbreak Blues.

"This is our last night of doing this, and we've had an amazing journey," he told the crowd. "Belfast you are just amazing."

Palladio then introduced his fellow cast member Claire Bowen who arrived on stage in her trademark flowing dress and bare feet.

The pair delighted the crowd by performing Fade Into Me, before welcoming Jackson back to perform Borrow My Heart.

Bowen then had her moment to shine as she sang her own song Little By Little which she described as a "love letter to the world".

"The world needs one of those right now," she continued. "One person cannot save the world alone but if we stick together we can make little corners of it glow with love and compassion. Love will always conquer fear."

Hits from the show were dished out in rotation throughout the night, with the crowd delighting when duets or group performances were brought to life.

Each of the stars brought their own unique sound to the stage and were very much well received by the crowd, but it was Jackson's stunning cover of Unchained Melody that had the audience mesmerized and on their feet to give the bewildered star a standing ovation.

The singer dedicated the performance to his wife of 15 years as they celebrated their anniversary and seemed genuinely moved that the crowd were in awe of his talents.

Jonathan Jackson. (Rollins PR)

"How am I supposed to follow that?" Palladio quite rightly asked as he arrived back on stage to perform the next track. "He does this this to me every night!"

As he opened the show Esten was given the task of closing it, so he performed the crowd favourite He Ain't Me before the entire ensemble returned to perform their encore.

A cover of David Bowie's Heroes, One More Song, and A Life That's Good were the final three songs of the evening and the Belfast audience were left suitably entertained by the Nashville sound.

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