Review: Morgan Wallen gives a masterclass performance at Hyde Park

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Morgan Wallen continued his ascent to superstar stardom as he became the first-ever country artist to headline London’s BST Hyde Park and it is safe to say he put on an absolute masterclass. 

It is kinda amazing that in the festival’s decade-long history it hadn’t had a country headliner until Wallen took to the stage on Thursday. From Shania Twain to Dolly Parton to Tim McGraw, there are plenty of country artists that would have been deserving of headline status. The fact Wallen was given the honour speaks volumes about his success stateside and his rising popularity across the globe.

After years of dominating streaming and the charts in the United States and following months of stadium shows across the country, Wallen’s stock continues to rise outside the States, making his Hyde Park debut in front of approximately 50,000+ people - a significant increase on the 20,000 or so that saw him perform at the O2 Arena in December. 

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And in a sea of folks wearing cowboy hats, boots, vests and on Independence Day, it felt like I was at the most American event on the planet outside of the United States. However, that atmosphere made it feel like home to Wallen - something he acknowledged early in his set and added that he never thought he’d be “celebrating the 4th July in London”. 

If he wants to make it a regular occurrence, I’m sure the thousands in attendance will be happy to see him back next summer. 

Morgan Wallen. Picture: Jason Kempin/Getty ImagesMorgan Wallen. Picture: Jason Kempin/Getty Images
Morgan Wallen. Picture: Jason Kempin/Getty Images | Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Following strong opening sets by Ella Langley, Riley Green and Wallen’s friend Ernest, the 31-year-old was met with a thunderous response as he did his traditional filmed walk to the stage similar to how Bill Goldberg made his WWE entrances, and the crowd belted out ‘Broadway Girls’ and ‘Whiskey Whiskey’ in the background, setting the stage for what was to be a thrilling performance.

Wallen started off the show in red-hot fashion as he rolled into ‘Ain’t That Some’ and ‘I Wrote the Book’ - showcasing that distinctive southern American drawl and fast-paced delivery. The crowd was ready for a singalong from the outset as they belted out the verses in full voice and the energy didn’t drop from that moment. 

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In terms of the biggest highlights from the evening, the acoustic part of the show on the b-stage where Wallen reminisced about his journey starting out in smaller venues before performing a cover of Jason Isbell’s ‘Cover Me Up’, ‘Thought You Should Know’ - a song dedicated to his mother, crowd-favourite ‘Lies, Lies, Lies’ and ‘Sand in my Boots’ on piano. 

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That section highlighted Wallen’s versatility and whilst we come to love his faster-paced songs, the 31-year-old is equally adept at performing ballads and acoustic tracks.

After returning to the main stage, Wallen and his backing band kept the crowd rocking as he belted out ‘Up Down’ with the crowd in unison and brought Ernest back onto the stage for a rendition of ‘Cowgirls’. Sadly, Post Malone wasn’t in attendance, but that didn’t make the performance of ‘I Had Some Help’ any less memorable as the crowd stepped into the rapper’s shoes perfectly before he closed out the first part of the set with the uplifting ‘This Bar’, ‘More Than My Hometown’ and ‘Whiskey Glasses’. 

As the crowd passionately bellowed for an encore, Wallen obliged with ‘Thinkin’ Bout Me’ before following it up with his biggest hit in ‘Last Night’ and ‘The Way I Talk'  to close out the night. 

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