Morgan Wallen's show on Sunday, December 3, was a testament to his undeniable prowess, a true powerhouse capable of bringing an electrifying energy to the grandeur of the O2 arena during his first ever visit to the UK.
"This is my first time playing in the UK. It's my first time being in the UK in general, so... I like to go on first impressions, and what I've seen so far... I think we're gonna have a damn good time together," accurately predicted the 30-year-old moments after taking the stage.
The built-up anticipation surrounding Wallen's performance was palpable, especially considering the setback of his canceled 2020 show due to the coronavirus pandemic. Recognizing the stakes and fueled by his meteoric rise to international fame, the country superstar delivered a show that surpassed all expectations and showcased his warmth towards his loyal fanbase and his passion for making deeply relatable music.
The beginning of the evening transformed into a celebration of country music, both old and new, as Larry Fleet set the stage with soulful ballads and his awe-inspiring vocal ability, creating an energy that seemed hard to surpass. Then, Bailey Zimmerman emerged as a surprise act and delivered an unrelenting 30-minute performance that heightened the excitement - and featured of course, his heart-wrenching hits Religiously and Rock and a Hard Place.
As Wallen's band got on stage, the first notes of their instruments sent all 20,000 fans into a frenzy. The singer's walkout video then played on massive screens, capturing the essence of the East Tennessee native singing along with his usual chrisma to Broadway Girls, his collaboration with Lil Durk. Once he appeared on stage, Wallen's commanding presence and unique vocal range resonated within what many would consider one of the country's - and arguably the world's - most emblematic venues, further solidifying the singer's indisputable place in the charts.
The show commenced with the upbeat anthem Up Down, setting the tone for an evening filled with hits. Wallen seamlessly transitioned from energetic performances to melodic interludes with I Wrote the Book and One Thing at a Time, Everything I Love and '98 Braves. The setlist spanned his three albums, featuring crowd favorites such as Thinkin' Bout Me, Whiskey Friends, Wasted on You, and More Than My Hometown. Each and every track had fans singing and swaying in unison, while Wallen led them with his raw, yet impeccably controlled vocals.
Amid pyrotechnic displays and runs up and down the T-shaped catwalk, Wallen managed to squeeze in a couple of intimate moments by playing the piano to Sand In My Boots, and bringing out Larry Fleet for Where I Find God - which he said was "one of my favourite songs". Bailey Zimmerman also returned on stage for a duet with his host, and the pair delivered perfectly combined harmonies on I Deserve A Drink.
Executing a 22-song setlist is no small feat, but Wallen concluded the 2023 leg of his One Night At A Time World Tour with an unforgettable encore. Heartless, Last Night, and Whiskey Glasses left the audience electrified. The final surprise of the night came as Wallen came back on stage for the encore wearing England's national team's jersey with his surname and the number 7, a symbolic tribute to a monumental milestone in the country.2023-12-05T19:57:04Z dg43tfdfdgfd