Friday Night Lights - C2C London’s Friday night kicked-off all guns blazing with all-American heartthrob Chase Rice. Alongside renditions of hit single Cruise, co-written for Florida Georgia Line, and an acoustic version of Jack Daniels and Jesus, he delighted the audience by inviting an unsuspecting member on-stage for a steamy rendition of his unapologetically raunchy track Ride.

Throughout the night, the Spotlight Stage showcased some truly stellar talent from up and coming artists, interspersed between the main acts. Early on, song-writer turned rising star Adam Hanbrick showed off his impressive vocal talent. Charming Texan Abby Anderson dazzled with her big personality and even bigger voice, bringing Jimmie Allen on-stage to sing their viral hit cover of Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s Shallow. In their long-awaited first UK performance, gorgeous trio Runaway June showcased their home-grown country sound and pitch-perfect harmonies. Reminiscent of a young Dixie Chicks, the band were clearly thrilled at their enthusiastic UK reception.

Next up on the main stage was Cam, who first graced C2C’s Spotlight Stage in 2017, and was delighted to have made it on to the centre stage. The star, who famously left a degree in psychology to pursue her love of singing, interspersed thoughtful musings on love and life, with gorgeous renditions of hit tracks from both her first album Untamed, and her eagerly anticipated forthcoming album. Resplendent in a pink sequinned ensemble, she sang crowd pleasers such as Diane, Mayday, and Runaway Train. Notable was a cover of Miley Cyrus and Mark Ronson’s recent hit Nothing Breaks Like a Heart, which ran into Dolly’s Jolene, and had ‘every serious country fan singing their heart out’, as well as a gorgeous new track Forgetting You When I’m Alone, suggesting that her new album is something to get excited about. Ending on a stirring rendition of breakout hit Burning House, the star was clearly emotional about the hugely positive reception from her UK audience.

Brett Eldridge, returning to the UK after a three-year absence, delivered an ultra high-energy set, full of joyful proclamations about wanting the audience to have ‘the time of their lives’. He shared a touching story of learning to song-write through the ordeal of his Grandmother’s illness which resulted in his first hit single Raymond. His acoustic performance of this and Long Way Round were testament to his powerful voice and presence, with the rest of the band’s absence hardly noticeable. Lighting up the room with his request for the audience to turn on their phones’ torches in Mean to Me, he transformed the arena into a room full of ‘fireflies’, and by the end of the set he too seemed clearly emotional at the strength of the UK’s warm reception.

Rounding off the night was country music superstar Keith Urban, headlining the main stage and cementing his rock star status by bringing the arena to their feet within the first few bars. He too, delighted the audience by bringing on stage a super-fan, appearing engaging and personable as he tried to decipher the fan’s Scottish accent, whilst fielding questions as to the reason for his noticeable 12 year absence in the UK. Mixing up crowd-pleasers such as Long Hot Summer, Somebody like You and Wasted Time, with impressive solo guitar playing, and a stint on the Spotlight Stage at the back of the arena (resulting in one adoring fan being handed his guitar), Urban showed us the blend of charisma, musicianship and hit songs that has made him such an enduring global star. Bringing down the house in a blaze of confetti, Urban’s long-awaited return to the UK stage was a brilliant end to a night full of great country music.