Review: Country star Brett Eldredge kicks off his UK tour in Cambridge
A sold-out Junction welcomed the American singer-songwriter - a superstar in his homeland - on Friday, January 31.
I felt doubly lucky tonight, as not only was this Brett Eldredge's first time in Cambridge, and the first show of a short UK tour, but it also acted as a reminder of why it's often so great to see American country acts perform over here.
In the US, Brett, 33, regularly sells out arenas, whereas over here it's possible to see him in an intimate venue like J1 at The Junction and actually see him in person - even if you're standing at the back like we were - rather than just as a dot on the horizon.
Backed by a solid five-piece band, Brett opened the show with Good Day, a pleasing number with which I was not familiar.
The packed crowd welcomed the second song of the set - the catchy Somethin' I'm good At - with even more wild enthusiasm.
Don't Ya and Love Someone (the latter especially) were further highlights early on as Brett and his fine band ploughed ahead with very little talking in between the songs.
A well-chosen cover of Queen's Crazy Little Thing Called Love was a welcome addition, probably having more in common with the Dwight Yoakam 'countryfied' version than the Queen original. No bad thing!
The likeable star's voice truly shone when he stood on stage with just an acoustic guitar and delivered highly emotive performances of Raymond (his first single back in 2010), a heartbreaking song inspired by his grandmother who suffered from Alzheimer's, and The Long Way.
By this point, Brett - who was clearly enjoying himself - started speaking more in between songs, thanking the fans and expressing gratitude that he gets to do this for a living.
He revealed that he had spent the day walking around Cambridge, saying that he usually likes to experience a place as a tourist before a gig, and noting that he had seen some of the people in the audience while exploring the city.
"I didn't get the chance to do that... what do you call it?" he asked. "Punting!" shouted back the crowd.
"Yeah, there were no punters, they were all punted out," he joked, adding that maybe someone could take him out on a punt next time he's in town. There was no shortage of volunteers.
Brett was also very gracious in his endorsement of support act Lauren Jenkins, praising the "grit" in her voice.
A true revelation came in the form of The Reason, a stunningly soulful track off Brett's self-titled 2017 album.
I had never heard it before but it in a gig full of memorable moments, this amazing tune - which tonight included part of The Temptations' classic My Girl - really stood out.
Mean to Me was delivered with a great deal of heart and feeling, while Beat of the Music, with its infectious summertime vibe, was the ideal way to close the show.
The crowd sang along passionately to the chorus, just as they had been doing all night.
Brett Eldredge's energy, charm and charisma - not to mention his warm, calming and expressive vocals - ensured that the gig never flagged or 'ran out of steam' - a rare thing indeed when it comes to the whole live music experience.
More by this authorAdrian Peel
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