LIVE REVIEW: Sarah Darling @ The Fleece – Bristol

Last night (March 18th) US Country singer Sarah Darling’s Wonderland tour arrived in Bristol.

The evening kicked off with folk band Jasper who performed a selection of original tracks such as the standout Pryzn and She and Me and also a cover of Gravity.

They were a fun addition to the line up and offered fans something a little different before UK based Country star Liv Austen arrived, with her blend of pop infused Country she took the room by storm.

Performing hits such as Detour, A Moment Of You Time and Window Shopping the Norway born singer controlled the stage with ease. A wonderful cover of Slow Burn also elevated her musical status and won her many new fans.

It was then time for the main event: Sarah Darling. The sweet songstress who has been visiting our shores for a number of years now effortlessly demands the rapt attention of any and all concert goers and kicking off with new track Blue Sky from forthcoming album Wonderland which is due for release on June 7th she got the Bristol crowd hooked from the first note.

Launching straight into Wonderland’s lead single Call Me the singer got everyone clapping and singing along before announcing that the next track would be A Boy Like You.

Before her band reminded her that in fact it was London Fog up next. This little slip endeared the adopted Brit to the crowd even more and she laughed it off before delivering a crystal clear vocal performance of the jazz infused ballad that is a major standout on the new set list and LP.

It was then time for Boy Like You which is a fun, upbeat song about falling in love with someone you know is meant for you.

This part of the set showcases how easily Sarah Darling can move between stripped back and up tempo numbers while still keeping everyone hooked.

Shine was then dedicated to everyone in the Fleece venue and her growing UK fanbase as a whole. It was gorgeous moment and set the tone for the second half where she performed Dream Country favourites Where Cowboys Ride and Halley’s Comet although once again, much to the amusement of the audience she tried to jump ahead in the set list to Light It Up.

Sarah’s dreamlike vocal works so well on WCR and HC and hearing her sweet tone sweep through the hall as she entrances everyone was a magical moment.

The funky Light It Up ensured the Bristol gig got kicked into high gear and it was so brilliant to watch Sarah having the time of her life on stage.

Slowing things right down the songstress then performed fan favourites Montmartre and Wasted solo with just her guitar.

These intimate moments take you back to how Darling started her career back in Nashville over ten years ago and to hear her gorgeous voice totally stripped back is a real dream.

Sarah has the ability to transport listeners anywhere with her storytelling lyrics and last night Bristol became Paris for three minutes as the venue was lit up by mobile lights to create a timeless moment.

This moment became even more intimate when Darling’s acoustic guitar decided to go awol meaning that the last few lines were sung acapela by the stunning vocalist.

While Wasted, a song which was penned over 10 years ago and not performed live by Darling until last year entranced the room and gave hope to anyone dealing with the songs subject matter of addiction.

Music is a healer and there’s no doubt that Sarah Darling’s in particular has the ability to heal almost anything you may be going through.

Time-lapse came next and this one was penned by the Iowa native last year after getting lost on many trains in London while recording Wonderland across Britain, and feeling like she was missing life as it went by in a blur.

It’s a truly gorgeous song and shines a light on the magical vocal tone the singer/songwriter possess. New single Fire followed and this one is for anyone who is chasing a dream.

It’s an instant connector and lyrically it was inspired by a Vincent Van Gogh quote about passers not being able to see the fire that burns within you. It was a beautiful moment of the evening and everyone fell silent as Sarah’s entrancing vocals washed over the crowd.

The feel good Enjoy The Ride was next, this was a fun moment in the set that allowed the audience to move around and clap along. You can tell that Darling is having a wonderful time on stage and her energy is infectious making for a standout part of the show.

The energy levels were kept high when Sarah then launched into her stunning cover of You Say It Best When You Say Nothing At All. This is always a special moment and to hear everyone singing the words back to Darling is a moment that will stay in her heart for a long time.

Dreams Fade Away then allowed for another gear change and gave the set room to breathe. This is a song that allows for Sarah’s vocals to shine and showcases her honey tones beautifully.

After performing new and recent hits, Darling took things back to the beginning with Home To Me which is the song that kicked off her love affair with the Grand Ole Opry in America. Inviting Liv Austen back on stage for this one also highlighted how much Sarah supports new and rising talent.

To hear Darling and Austen together was amazing and the Bristol crowd lapped it up.

Closing out the mammoth set Darling performed Talk About The Weather which is an instant classic and led to a whole raft of cheers and whistles from the audience.

After leaving the stage to loud applause, Darling quickly returned for an encore of A Little Bit Of Rain which is a classic Country song about heartbreak.

It was a sensational way to close out the beautiful set and ensured that Sarah had the audiences rapt attention as her sweeping vocals swept across the venue space.

Sarah Darling always puts on a fabulous live show and seems to step it up each and every night. She has a special way of connecting with any audience and can hold their attention for as long as she wants.

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Last night was truly magical and to hear the stories behind the songs made it even more memorable. Country Music is a special genre and Sarah Darling is one of the most exciting talents. She’s become an adopted Brit due to extensive touring over here and it’s always mesmerising to see her in her element on stage.

If there was ever a person born to sing then it’s Sarah Darling. She just has this angelic, magical aura that draws you in and literally has the voice of an angel.

RATING: 5/5

Were you at the Fleece last night in Bristol for Sarah Darling? Let us know over on Twitter @CelebMix

Written by Laura Klonowski

Qualified music journalist! Writing single/album/live reviews, feature articles, interviews, and news pieces.
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Twitter: @cherylssoldier1
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Email: lauraklon14@gmail.com