Morgan Wallen in a baseball shirt
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Morgan Wallen Delivers Show-Stopping Debut UK Performance at London's O2 Arena

December 4, 2023 11:26 am GMT
Last Edited December 18, 2023 4:42 pm GMT

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It was the moment Morgan Wallen's UK fans had been eagerly looking forward to ever since his original London debut with HARDY back in 2020 was cancelled because of COVID.

That show was set to take place at The Garage, with a capacity of around 600 people. Fast forward three years, and Morgan Wallen was now taking the stage to a packed-out crowd of roughly 20,000, with the ‘Everything I Love’ hitmaker sharing with attendees that he'd been told this was the biggest country music show the UK had ever seen.

From the second Morgan Wallen emerged on the big screen for his now-iconic walk-out soundtracked by his genre-blending Lil Durk collaboration, ‘Broadway Girls’, it was evident everything about this One Night At A Time tour-stop was about to be blockbuster. This was highlighted when a dramatic, WWE-style voiceover announced Morgan's band-members, before unveiling “the one you've all been waiting for”...

After running emphatically onto the stage, Morgan Wallen teased the earworm hook to his infectious, Florida Georgia Line-assisted Friday night anthem, ‘Up Down’, by singing a few lines a cappella, before his band launched into the energising guitar riff.

Morgan Wallen has his setlist fine-tuned to perfection, with the 2023 Billboard Top Country Artist sending bursts of electricity fizzling through the crowd as he rattled through the likes of ‘I Wrote The Book’, ‘Whiskey Friends’, ‘Wasted On You’ and ‘7 Summers’.

With each new track, it reminded audience-members of the far-ranging repertoire of hits Morgan has to his name, and it won't be long before his setlist consists entirely of No. 1 singles.

He kept the crowd on their toes, segueing seamlessly from the galvanising, trap-inspired period of the show, comprising a trio of One Thing At A Time stand-outs, ‘You Proof’, ‘Ain't That Some’ and ‘Sunrise’, into an acoustic, vulnerable run of tracks which allowed Morgan Wallen to showcase his distinctive, sinuous drawl.

His spine-tingling rendition of Jason Isbell's ‘Cover Me Up’ has become one of the most anticipated parts of the show, with Morgan Wallen enhancing the spectacle by stepping away from the microphone as the crowd waited with baited breath, before Morgan played the opening notes, which were met with a chorus of screams.

Despite not containing the histrionics of the rest of the set, Morgan's intricate ode to his mother, ‘Thought You Should Know’, and the sun-soaked heartbreak track, ‘Sand in My Boots’, which he performed with nothing more than a piano, made this stripped-back series of songs one of the most eye-catching sections of the show.

It was elevated once more when Morgan brought out his opening acts, Larry Fleet and Bailey Zimmerman, for heartfelt, stirring takes on Larry's spiritual musing, ‘Where I Find God’, and Morgan's whiskey-drenched ballad, ‘I Deserve A Drink’, respectively.

When Morgan Wallen stormed back onto the stage for his encore donning an England football jersey with ‘Wallen’ adorned across the back, it consolidated the message Morgan and his team shared at the pre-show reception, where they underlined their keenness to deepen their connection with the quickly burgeoning UK country audience.

In a way, when we're fortunate enough to have two global country figureheads in the form of Luke Combs and Morgan Wallen, it feels churlish to compare them.

However, with Luke having taken the O2 stage a matter of weeks prior, it was difficult not to cross-reference the two performances, and Morgan's set just felt ‘bigger’ - in every sense of the word.

From the shape-shifting Hollywood-esque visuals that helped bring each song to life, to the energy and vigour that the ‘Last Night’ crooner injected into every track as he sprinted across the stage, you couldn't help but feel the O2 Arena struggled to contain his presence.

Next stop, Wembley.

Morgan Wallen - Setlist

Taken from his live performance at the O2 Arena in London, UK on Sunday, December 3rd, 2023.

  • Broadway Girls (recorded version, during walk to stage)
  • Up Down
  • I Wrote The Book
  • One Thing At A Time
  • Everything I Love
  • ‘98 Braves
  • You Proof
  • Ain't That Some
  • Sunrise
  • 7 Summers
  • Chasin’ You
  • Cover Me Up (cover of Jason Isbell)
  • Thought You Should Know
  • Where I Find God (cover of Larry Fleet, with Larry Fleet)
  • I Deserve A Drink (with Bailey Zimmerman)
  • Sand in My Boots
  • Thinkin’ Bout Me
  • Cowgirls
  • Whiskey Friends
  • This Bar
  • Wasted On You
  • More Than My Hometown
  • The Way I Talk

Encore

  • Heartless
  • Last Night
  • Whiskey Glasses

For more on Morgan Wallen, see below:

Written by Maxim Mower
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