Dwight Yoakam walked onstage to a mix of old and soon-to-be new fans, before jumping into plenty of rock & roll riffs and Americana tones. His set was what I imagine it sounds like when a 1950s sock hop meets a good old Southern dance. Casually cool in double denim, boots and hat, he had the kind of strong stage presence you’d expect from a man with 30 years’ performance experience under his belt. Of course, he was helped by his dapperly dressed band, who added a touch of showbiz to a toe-tapping show.
Having first visited London back in 1986, Yoakam made sure we knew he hadn’t lost his edge with a medley of bass notes, yodels and crisp, clear vocals. His songs told stories, evoked emotions, and helped to transport you to somewhere even more country than C2C. Everywhere you looked, the crowd was having fun; singing along, boot-scooting and two-stepping. This was a show to enjoy, as well as an artist to admire.
Yoakam gave us a taste of the cowpunk scene’s rockier side; a particular favourite being Second Hand Heart. Though this number was heavier than much of the set, his vocals remained pitch-perfect and energy levels high, right through to top numbers like Ring Of Fire and Honky Tonk Man.
Over to the Yamaha stage for Ashley Monroe’s flawless and fun set. Starting with the stunning Like A Rose, Monroe’s less-is-more performance showed off her unique voice and her sharp wit. Offering plenty of personality, she charmed us all
(and felt at home enough not to worry about we Brits being easily offended), before rounding off her set with the tongue in cheek Weed Instead Of Roses.
Naturally, she was cheered and applauded all the way off the stage, down the steps and through the crowd.
Dwight Yoakam Photo Gallery
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