I almost decided not to go to Brett Eldredge’s London gig. It was on Valentines day and this meant one of two equally terrifying possibilities. In one hellish vision I would be surrounded by loved up couples getting engaged during a rendition of Mean To Me, while I sang Drunk on Your Love to a bottle of cider. In the alternate vision I would be flanked by an army of fellow single women, each one (myself included) subconsciously waiting for Brett to look out into the crowd and declare that she was destined to be the muse for his next album. There was the likelihood that either scenario would indeed make me Lose My Mind.
But I did go, afraid that if I didn’t, Britain might go back to the dark ages of when country music megastars never crossed over the Atlantic to visit us (you know, like back in 2012). Happily, I have lived to review the night at London’s Koko nightclub as neither possibility came true.
For a start there were blokes there. A lot of them. In groups together, apparently of their own accord. (Where does one find these British country fan guys? I’m copyrighting a country music dating app).
Instead there was a party atmosphere, cultivated by opening act the Pauper Kings* who had us truly warmed up before the main attraction; the soul man of country who flipped from Ray Charles to Sinatra covers and lived up to his playful reputation with a rendition of Ginuwine’s Pony (a song I’m pretty sure half of the room had never heard before). I don’t know many singers who could mix R’n’B riffs, with some Penticostal clapping and a nod to Motown while never bringing their country credentials into question; but when it comes to performing Brett’s got the soul and knows how to use it (sorry, couldn’t resist).
So I danced more than I’d planned to (note to self: choose footwear wisely if I get to see him live again) and any potential Valentine Blues were kept though threatened to surface at three moments. First, you could practically hear the sound of hearts melting when Brett said his Valentines text message was from his mum. Then there was the fear of being crushed in a stampede as Brett searched the audience for the “right girl to sing this next one to”, and never mind when he gave out roses to the audience.
And finally, yes, there was a proposal. Though as the adorable Andy took his now fiancée to the stage the cynic in me was shoved aside by my romantic side and the spirit of Valentine’s won me over. Besides, who had I been kidding? Whether Valentines Day or not, whether newly single or newly engaged, “If I could be the name that changes yours” was always going to raise a tear.
*A review of the surprise of the night, The Pauper Kings, will be coming soon.