LIVE REVIEW: The Shires @ Cardiff’s St David’s Hall

Last night (May 14th) British country duo The Shires brought their Accidentally On Purpose tour to Cardiff’s St David’s Hall in spectacular style. The evening started with a stellar set from the opening act Sinead Burgess who is a talented musician from Australia.

The Cardiff crowd instantly warmed to Burgess’ soaring vocal prowess and catchy country tunes as she belted out hits such as ‘Butterflies’, before sampling new songs off her upcoming album which will be released this July.

Sinead was discovered by Ben Earle at a bar in Nashville and was asked to join The Shires during this tour, and it’s easy to see why he fell in love with her voice. She has an easy charm, great stage presence and is an all round performer.

New single ‘Damaged Goods’ was a major highlight of her 30 minute set while ‘Wildflowers Of Colorado’ is an instant radio hit. It was a wonderful way start to the evening and the Welsh crowd welcomed her with open arms and she left the stage to rapturous applause and a whole new fanbase.


After a short interval it was time for the main event and as the lights went down the crowd were treated to Dancing On The Ceiling blasting out from the speakers before Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes bounded onto the stage to huge cheers and with the crowd on their feet they kicked off with new track ‘Echo’ which is taken off their new LP ‘Accidentally On Purpose’.

They then went straight into ‘Beats To Your Rhythm’ which will always be a fan favourite. The set which includes nine tracks off new LP ‘Accidentally On Purpose‘ then kicked into full gear with the Cardiff crowd in full voice as The Shires performed a host of their biggest hits including ‘State Lines’,  ‘My Universe’ ‘All Over Again’ and one of the biggest highlights of the entire evening, ‘Friday Night’ which saw everyone on their feet dancing and singing along.

The Shires have definitely grown in confidence and their stage presence is off the scale. You can tell that they are in their element on the stage giving the audience the night of their lives. Their charisma and vocal talents combine to create an all out spectacular live show.

But it’s not just upbeat country-pop numbers that stand out, ballad ‘Stay The Night’ was another beautiful addition to the set list. It’s a gorgeous song on the new album and they opened with a fun monologue about Crissie getting drunk in Nashville backstage at an Ed Sheeran concert. This stunning track was then penned by Sheeran after he met the pair. It was a standout moment last night and Earle and Rhodes’ harmonies were gorgeous.

In the middle of the set they slowed things right down and showcased their stunning vocal abilities with a medley of slow jams and old favourites ‘Black And White/ State Lines / Brave’ and you could have heard a pin drop when they performed the poignant ballad ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’ which is about Rhodes losing her father when aged 8. Ben confessed that now he’s a father this song breaks his heart, the audience gave Crissie a rousing round of applause for her brave rendition of this personal track that has struck a chord with fans all over the world.

Other highlights included lead single ‘Guilty’ which had the entire auditorium standing up in full voice, ‘Ahead Of The Storm’ which was accompanied with stadium worthy lighting that changed the mood of the evening from intimate show to huge arena concert, and new single ‘Sleepwalk’. St David’s was lit up by phone lights for the gorgeous ‘Sleepwalk’.But one woman near the front row couldn’t get her phone torch to work which didn’t go unnoticed by Earle who invited the fan to the stage for him to show her how to work it. That was a lighthearted fun moment and showed how down to earth the duo have remained.

As the night was drawing to a close fans were treated to The Shires’ debut hit single ‘Nashville Grey Skies’ which embodies the growth of UK country, the pair thanked fans for their involvement of the growth of the genre and this track once again had the a Welsh audience giving them a standing ovation as they danced and sung along, while Crissie joked that all this getting up and down is “good cardio”.

They closed out the set with the brilliant ‘Tonight’ which is always a standout moment in The Shires’ live shows and as they left the stage to a rapturous applause after being spilt down the middle for a friendly competition of Team Crissie V Team Ben,  the audience broke out into the Oh Oh Ohs from the chorus as they were welcomed back on to a standing ovation and deafening cheers. It a while for the rapturous applause to quieten down and it was a special and emotional moment seeing the duo being bowled over by the huge reaction.

They then sang three tracks for the encore which were the stripped back ‘Loving You Too Long’ which highlighted their vocal harmonies, and a wonderful cover of the Dolly Parton hit ‘Islands In The Stream ‘which saw the audience singing along to all the words as Ben and Crissie basked in the glorious sounds of the Welsh voices coming together.

The night ended with a spectacular rendition of ‘A Thousand Hallelujahs’ which saw the crowd participation hit a whole new high as the joined in with hands in the air moment for one last mammoth sing-a-long.

The Shires truly know how to put on a spectacular live show and Cardiff were treated to a truly special night which will live long in the memories.


Were you at The Shires’ Cardiff gig last night? Let us know your highlights over on Twitter @CelebMix.  

Written by Laura Klonowski

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