Rain clouds in the London sky welcome us to the Saturday evening of the 2017 edition of the C2C, but, as they say around here, if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes, and, sure enough, the afternoon sun came out. Dan & Shay, Hunter Hayes, Darius Rucker and her majesty Reba McEntire are the superstars of the day today on the MainStage, whilst on the Yamaha Music Stage, Cassadee Pope, Seth Ennis and Bryan Bailey. Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney are very young, but have already two albums to their names and therefore, are not really considered debutants. They have been a support group for Blake Shelton and Hunter Hayes during their tours, and are accompanied on stage by a highly talented band, as seen by their extraordinary cover of “You Give Love A Bad Name” by Bon Jovi. Great voice, running through all their successes from “Show You Off” to “Obsessed” not forgetting the famous “19 You and Me”. A starter, tasty, fresh, but still a starter. I have already seen Hunter Hayes in concert at the Ederle Camp in Vicenza more than a year ago, and even then, he did not particularly impress me. Very good, of course, with voice and even more with the guitar, but the fact that he plays a pop-country-rock-blues-soul doesn’t really make him stand out a lot. Apart from the famous “I Want Crazy” (really good), I cannot really remember many songs of the Louisiana born singer. But I can confirm that the public at the O2 Arena, composed mostly of young people, liked Hunter Hayes’ show a lot. His first time at the C2C. Darius Rucker on the other hand is at home in London. When he was lead guitar and singer for Hootie & the Blowfish he played several times in the English capital, but now he returns as a country singer. The show opens with “Lighter Up” from the album “Southern Style”, immediately gaining the public’s admiration.SCP_8815When he sings a cover of Garth Brooks, “Friends In Low Places”, simply amazing, and, as if by magic, the 20,000 fans present in the Arena seem to be a large group of friends ready to party, with a beer or two, (this is the amazing power of music). Another cover, “No Diggety” by Blackstreet, two Hootie & the Blowfish songs, ( “Hold My Hand” and “Only Wanna Be With You”) and then the grand finale with “Wagon Wheel”. For an encore, and what an encore, “Purple Rain” by Prince. The O2 audience is in ecstasy. 35 number one singles on the Billboard, 56 million albums sold worldwide, 7 CMA Awards and 2 Grammy Awards. This is the “modest” tally of Reba McEntire, who has now reached the status of country music icon. Having the opportunity to see her live, outside the States is a unique opportunity and the Londoners were not going to miss this chance. She is perfect. Every gesture, every note reached with the voice and every comment made to the audience are prepared with the utmost care by a team of experts. It was like looking at a hologram, no mistakes, and the songs including traditional country, Southern Christian and country rock, are untarnished, thanks of course to the band. Sure, her show may seem to have been very ’80’s style and was best suited for Nashville or even Brenson rather than for modern London, but I liked it a lot, especially the opening song “Can’t Even Get The Blues”, as well as the medley “You’re No Good / The Heart is a Lonely Hunter / Walk On / I’d Rather Ride Around with You, In the Greatest Man I Never Knew (dedicated to her father), and the rhythmic “Turn on the Radio”, the evergreen “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia” and the encore “Fancy”. Thank you Reba. Tomorrow it’s Zac’s turn. (Gianluca Sitta)