Little Big Town, David Nail and Ashley Monroe @ Starlight Theatre, Kansas City – Gig Review

From my previous experience of seeing Little Big Town live, I knew how incredible their show was, and just how much energy they put into making sure their fans leave having had an incredible experience. On this tour however, they have really surpassed themselves, providing openers of the very highest quality in Ashley Monroe and David Nail, both artists that I would travel some miles to see doing a headline show. Having said that, the line up didn’t stop there, since the show was actually kicked off with a set provided by Cam. I’m glad I was early for the show, because Cam is a fabulous live performer, with a small but quality reservoir of songs, including the moving ‘Burning House’.

The main line up kicked off with Ashley Monroe, coming on stage to kick off with ‘Buried Your Love Alive’, a bluesy number from her new record ‘The Blade’. Her short set incorporated older material such as ‘Like A Rose’ alongside new songs ‘Onto Something Good’ and ‘Winning Streak’ as well as a cover of Miranda Lambert’s ‘Heart Like Mine’ which she co-wrote with Miranda. Vocally stunning, there isn’t much to say about her performance apart from that it was too short! However, I did have some issue with the venue’s acoustics, since all the performers seemed to slow the tempo of their songs to avoid any reverb, making Ashley’s gorgeous ballad ‘Has Anyone Ever Told You’ painfully slow, badly needing some extra tempo just to keep it moving! This was a recurring theme throughout the night, giving the impression that some of the performances were very laboured which is unfair to the artists and fans.

David Nail brought a fuller sound to the show, kicking off with a new song that I didn’t recognise. Rattling off song after song, including some of his older material like ‘Red Light’ and ‘Grandpa’s Farm’, as well as some brand new material like ‘Nights On Fire’ and the title track from his upcoming album ‘Fighter’. I was particularly impressed by ‘Fighter’ and in explaining the significance of the song to him personally David really seemed to connect with the audience. Aside from the performance, which was absolutely awesome, I really liked David’s stage presence, appearing very shy and humble before unleashing his stunning vocals. There was no hint of rehearsal of his crowd interaction, which was welcome since it meant that he could build a more real relationship with his fans, explaining the background to some of his songs and speaking of the tough times he’s been thorough, crediting his wife as his inspiration.

Vocally, there are few groups as accomplished as Little Big Town, something they demonstrated throughout their set. Beginning with ‘Day Drinking’ and rattling off hit after hit, one of my highlights was ‘Your Side Of The Bed’, a song that they didn’t play when I saw them in London. Although they didn’t talk to the crowd much, their presence was always felt, and it was nice to see them having such a good time on stage, especially after their lay-off due to Jimmi’s vocal surgery. Ending on their current smash ‘Girl Crush’ was also excellent, and despite my ambivalence towards it as a song, Karen’s lead vocals were stunning and beautifully complimented by the rest of the group providing harmonies.

Musically, there was never any slip ups throughout the night, although some comedy did occur when Kimberly accidently repeated the first verse on ‘Sober’, even joking about it during the song itself! I feel so lucky to have seen such a fantastic line up, and I can’t wait for my next Little Big Town experience. I’m glad I came to this tour, because not only did I see a great show from Little Big Town, but I got to see David Nail and Ashley Monroe as well. With The Shires supporting their fall tour, it’s safe to say that I lucked out with this line-up, and I feel bad for those who missed out!

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