CHARLOTTE ELIZABETH

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©2017 by Charlotte Elizabeth

Gig Review: The Corrs supported by The Shires at Manchester Arena

September 18, 2017

Throw back to 1995 when i first became aware of The Corrs. Their debut single 'Runaway' was released and they were performing on 'Surprise, Surprise' hosted by the late Cilla Black. This was the first time I had been introduced to a more mainstream pop country genre of music and I was instantly drawn to their musicianship, however at 10 years old,  I didn't really have the appreciation it deserved even though I knew they were something special.

 

Tours came and went and I never attended any of them, occasionally buying their album or new single but never really becoming a fan who 'must have' their music.

 

I will whole heartedly admit, that I only purchased tickets for their show last week and this was primarily because The Shires were supporting them. I had seen The Shires twice previously. Once in February 2015 when they supported Little Big Town and then in March at Country to Country. I honestly thought The Shires would be the highlight. I was wrong.

 

The Shires came on to the stage to a polite applause;  I'm not sure many people knew who they were at this point. Opening up with 'Falling In Love With You', Ben & Chrissy didn't have a great deal of stage presence to begin with, however what was pleasantly surprising was how bigger and better they sound with a full band. They have of course built a great band up in order to perform at the large stadiums and arenas but as I had only ever seen them in more intimate settings, it was the first thing I noticed and it has worked well

for them. Continuing their set with 'Nashville Grey Skies' and then 'State Lines' showed off Chrissy's vocal range and Ben's instrumental skills, switching from guitar to piano but I was waiting for the tempo to improve as they just didn't seem to be capturing the audience. 

 

 

Following on with Brave, the title track of the album and then 'Friday Night', the country duo got some audience participation asking them to sing back at them and join in. 'Jekyll & Hyde' was the last song they sung taken from their album and this was their best song of the set. The song complimented both parties vocals, the big band sound was excellent and the audience were getting warmed up.

 

To finish their set, Ben & Chrissie took to a fan favourite of 'Islands In The Stream' and encouraged everyone to get their lighters & phones out to light up the room which they did quite happily. The Shires filmed this and added it to Instagram.

 

Overall, a strong set from a record breaking UK Country act but maybe there was a little more to give?

 

The Corrs, after taking a 10 year hiatus, definitely came back with a bang. The opening of the gig was a fabulous build up, showing a silhouette of Caroline Corr drumming. This was also a nice touch as Caroline often remains at the back of the stage due to her instrument position, she can occasionally be overlooked, however The Corrs have exceptional musicianship and ensured throughout the show that each member got their turn in the limelight.

 

 

Choosing to open with 'What I Like', a track from the new album, it was clear that their fans have remained loyal and were just as excited for the new material as the old favourites.

 

The back catalogue was soon released to raptuous applause. 'Give Me A Reason', 'What Can I Do' and 'Forgiven Not Forgotten' have always been firm fan favourites and it is no different now. Speaking to the crowd, Andrea Corr was clearly moved and close to

tears thanking fans for their support.

 

The band have clearly kept their musical focus on Irish Folk with a melodic country twist. They have kept the Irish influence in their music but they also have a more edgy feel to their music which is complimented with harmonies and instrumentals. They have

most definitely moved away from the pop sounds of the 1990's and have found their own style which, whilst remaining current is also unique and suited to them not only as a band but as individuals.

 

 

We were treated to extremely beautiful instrumentals and firmly has me believing that their bond as a family of siblings has only encompassed this talent.

 

Although Andrea is the lead singer, she does also play the Whistle and has the most beautiful tones and harmonies with Sharon, Caroline and brother Jim. It was instruments galore from Violins, drums, keyboard, bodhran, whistle and egg shakers and each one played to perfection.

 

 

A new track entitled 'Ellis Island' has my attention straight away. For those who know me, you will understand why! My obsession with New York could easily make me biased to liking this song but there is actually no critism i can give it.

 

There are songwriters who can sing about important issues, emotional and real issues but leave you without the feeling of empathy, without the feeling that you have experienced something special. The Corrs are not these people. Ellis Island is a beautiful song about emigration, of course they have Irish ancestors who experienced this. The song is about hope and belonging and just had everyone completely hooked on every word.

 

 

Of course, with every good concert comes an encore! No artist in their right mind would leave the stage without singing their latest single and a few more fan favourites.

 

After a lot of foot stomping, cheering and shouting of 'more!', the quartet returned to their stage to sing 'Bring On The Night' followed by the chart topping 'Breathless' which was also nominated for a Grammy back in 2001 and a finale of the instrumental track 'Toss The Feathers'.

 

It is safe to say that The Corrs are back where they belong. I have a feeling though that they may continue to dip in and out of the limelight but one thing is for sure; whenever they come back the fans most definitely will.

 

 

Keep music live!

 

Until next time,

 

Charlotte Elizabeth xx

 

 

 

*All photographs are courtesy of Nick Barber (http://tofo.me/efsb)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

had only ever seen them in more intimate settings, it was the first thing I noticed and it has worked well for them. Continuing their set with 'Nashville Grey Skies' and then 'State Lines' showed off Chrissy's vocal range and Ben's instrumental skills, switching from guitar to piano but I was waiting for the tempo to improve as they just didn't seem to be capturing the audience.

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