Photography by Kendall Wilson
Cam delivered a breathtaking set on Sunday, August 27 to close out a stellar Long Road Festival 2023.
From her spine-tingling vocal acrobatics to her commanding stage presence, Cam approached this headlining performance with the confidence and charisma of someone who had been spending the past six months preparing for this very moment.
In reality, of course, Cam had only been booked as a headliner replacement for Jon Pardi on Tuesday, just a matter of days before she was due to take the stage.
This short notice made Cam's electrifying set all the more impressive, with the audience carrying a genuine sense of appreciation and gratitude at the fact that the California singer-songwriter was happy to make the last-minute trip across The Pond - just for them.
Cam repeatedly expressed her love for the packed-out Long Road crowd, kicking off the show by teasing, “I heard you were in a bit of a pickle, so I got here as fast as I could, because that's what friends do, right?” before going on to endearingly confess that she “said yes before I even knew if my band could make it!”
In a set pervaded by warmth and familiarity, the only threat of any negativity working its way into the performance came when Cam decided to cover Pardi's much-loved hit, ’Head Over Boots’. This was greeted with a flurry of boos from the audience, still somewhat frustrated at his short-notice withdrawal from the line-up.
Nonetheless, Cam ensured the ambience remained wholesome and loving, lightly rebuking the crowd and stressing how upset her fellow Californian was at having to pull out of the show.
Over the years, ‘Diane’ has been consolidated as the undisputed keystone of Cam's setlist, and it served as one of the many highlights during her Long Road Festival performance. The invigorating instrumental combined perfectly with Cam's emphatic vocals to send a sonic caffeine-shot pulsating through the audience. Some things are so spectacular that they need to be felt twice, and it's safe to say attendees had no complaints at getting to scream along to ‘Diane’ a second time during the encore.
The song choices were evenly spread across Cam's impressive discography, with her newer material being performed with the same authenticity and heartfelt delivery as the anthems she's been playing since she first started out. Excitingly, fans were treated to an unreleased song, ’Slow Down’, with Cam's faultless vocals combining sleekly with her two instrumentalists for an acoustic gem.
‘The Otherside’, the title-track from her acclaimed 2020 project, injected a boost of inescapable vigour and enthusiasm into the final-day festival crowd, with the Avicii-produced track momentarily transporting attendees to Tomorrowland as they jubilantly danced along to the infectious, EDM-tinged beat.
The main set closer, ‘Burning House’, was another stand-out, with Cam explaining that the inspiration for the song came from a recurring dream she'd been having about being unable to rescue an ex from the flames. Touchingly, she shared that a fan had told her she'd been having the exact same dream, and that it supposedly expresses the feeling of wanting to change something in your past that simply cannot be rectified.
It wasn't the first time audience-members were fighting back the tears, with Cam's set serving as a masterclass in how to connect with each and every person in the crowd. There was something powerfully human about each of the hit songsmith's offerings, exemplified most viscerally on the likes of ‘Village’, ‘Half Broke Heart’ and ‘What Goodbye Means’.
From the unbounded euphoria of ’Diane’ to the aching vulnerability of ‘Burning House’, Cam delivered a showcase that reminded everyone exactly why she is, in many ways, the consummate headliner.
Cam - Setlist
Taken from her set at The Long Road Festival in Leicestershire, UK on Sunday, August 27th 2023
18. My Mistake
For more on The Long Road Festival 2023, see below: