When it comes to the leading lights of the country music scene, there is no star shining brighter than Kacey Musgraves right now. On the back of the success of her ‘Golden Hour’ album, Kacey, the only female headliner at Country Music Week, headed to Wembley Arena to perform in front of the excited arena crowd.
Officially there was one support artist in Soccer Mommy. However after the Swiss born artist had finished her laid back indie-rock set, a second unofficial support appeared. The sound system in the arena was belting out and soon all eyes turned to seats on the left side of the arena, where one enthusiastic (and certainly not shy) crowd member was giving it all she has with dance moves – so much in fact that a spotlight was shone on her at one point! This made the forty-minute wait for Kacey to appear much shorter than it seemed, and put the crowd in a good atmosphere for the impending arrival of the star of the show.
The lights went down at around 9.15, and the silhouettes of the band members could be seen appearing one by one – after a short intro, Kacey appeared to a massive cheer. She opened proceedings with ‘Slow Burn’, the song that opens up her hugely successful latest release. Straight away, you can’t help but be mesmerised by those magical vocals and you knew from the off that the night had something special in the air. I’m not sure there is a better sight in country music than seeing Kacey Musgraves sing live. She has a grace and a beauty in her performance that makes her almost glow, throughout the night raising her right hand in an exquisite way to convey emotion.
In the early part of the set Kacey concentrated on tracks from ‘Golden Hour’, with ‘Wonder Woman’, ‘Butterflies’ and ‘Lonely Weekend’ following in quick succession. ‘Keep it to Yourself’ was the first departure, heading back in time to perform a track from ‘Same Trailer Different Park’, sticking to that album for the song that perhaps started it all for Kacey, as the singer from Golden, Texas embarked on ‘Merry Go Round’. The first verse of the song was slowed down and almost haunting, before the instrumentation kicked in, in turn kicking off the first real singalong of the night. The third time the chorus came around, Kacey didn’t need to sing, simply revelling in the thousands of voices singing it back.
Throughout the evening there was a real nice mix of music from Kacey’s career so far, with highlights for me being the short, but very sweet ‘Mother’, ‘Oh What a World’ (which Kacey’s tour is named after), the crowd pleasing ‘Family is Family’ and ‘Happy and Sad’, my own personal favourite track from the latest album. A special guest in Tom Chaplin headed onto the stage three quarters of the way through the night to cover Keane’s ‘Somewhere Only We Know'(Chaplin is the lead singer) a duet that was enjoyed by the two protagonists on the stage every much as bit as the crowd.
‘Space Cowboy’, with perhaps the best backdrop of the night was the penultimate song of the set, the end of the song seeing a section of the ‘Follow Your Arrow’ video on the screen. This perhaps received the loudest reaction of the night, with the crowd in full voice throughout.
Nobody was leaving at this point however and we didn’t have to wait long for the encore. Before the music however, Kacey spoke about her experiences about playing in London and how she loves coming over to Europe and the UK. This was an honest and touching moment, where Kacey, becoming emotional herself, made it clear how much she loves coming to the UK.
The encore began with the beautiful ‘Rainbow’, a song which could also refer to Kacey’s wonderful sparkly outfit for the evening. Then came the curve-ball of the evening, which saw Soccer Mommy return for an energetic cover of N’Sync’s ‘Tearing Up My Heart’, which even included a dance move or two. This was the perfect warm up to the final song of the evening, the up-tempo and highly catchy ‘High Horse’ – the perfect song to send the crowd home happy.
Seeing Kacey Musgraves on Saturday was a wonderful experience. For nearly two hours, she (and her fantastic six piece band) had the entire Wembley Arena audience in the palm of their hand. The ‘Golden Hour’ album has seen Kacey’s star rise in 2018, and with performances like this, there is no sign of that rise stopping any time soon. A magical night.
Review written by Nick Cantwell (twitter.com/nickbelles_gals)
Picture credits – Lesley Hastings (twitter.com/lesleyhastings) and Fran Mould.