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REVIEW: Nashville comes to Leeds - in all sorts of guises

Clare Bowen and Charles Eston in action during Nashville in Concert at First Direct Arena. PIC: Anthony Longstaff
Clare Bowen and Charles Eston in action during Nashville in Concert at First Direct Arena. PIC: Anthony Longstaff
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I NEVER expected to hear Don’t Look Back In Anger at the Nashville In Concert Farewell tour.

But then again neither was I envisaging witnessing Jonathan Jackson bringing the house down at First Direct Arena with a brilliant version of the Righteous Brothers’ Unchained Melody.

Johnathan Jackson sings Unchained Melody during Nashville in Concert at First Direct Arena, Leeds. PIC: Anthony Longstaff

Johnathan Jackson sings Unchained Melody during Nashville in Concert at First Direct Arena, Leeds. PIC: Anthony Longstaff

The hit American TV show Nashville may be centered on the country music scene but - as the crowd in Leeds found out - its stars are clearly able to turn their hand to all sorts of genres.

Five cast members - Jackson, Charles Esten, Clare Bowen, Chris Carmack and Sam Palladio - all took took to the stage to showcase their talents here.

Sometimes going solo, often forming duets, performing both favourites from the show and plenty of other material, too, you never quite knew what would come next.

It was Esten who unexpectedly segwayed from Good Rain of Jesus into that aforementioned Oasis classic at the piano while during another number he appeared at back of the arena to weave his way to the stage high-fiving and taking selfies.

Chris Carmack takes to the air during Nashville in Concert at First Direct Arena, Leeds

Chris Carmack takes to the air during Nashville in Concert at First Direct Arena, Leeds

He also had to start giving spoiler alerts mid-concert as, during one of his breaks off stage, someone moaned on social media how he’d given away a major plot line from an earlier season.

“Catch up, man…. Get binge watching Nashville!!! Now here’s He Ain’t Me!”

Cue big guitar sounds. And a bit of rock.

Palladio, who hails from Cornwall but manages a fine American accent in the show, told the story of his own grandfather’s lost love in Nashville having fallen asleep on a train and missed his date.

Sam Palladio during Nashville in Concert at First Direct Arena, Leeds

Sam Palladio during Nashville in Concert at First Direct Arena, Leeds

That proved the inspiration for Wake Me Up In Nashville while - on a few occasions - he swapped his guitar for the drums to highlight his own versatility.

Impish Aussie Bowen, looking like a little fairy dancing around barefoot, couldn’t help reminding everyone how much she loves her new husband Brandon Robert Young, who appeared in the band at various stages on guitar.

She performed a few of her solo songs including the high-energy A Tide Rolls In and Carmack also performed well but Jackson’s Unchained Melody dedication to his wife was arguably the high point of the show.

The cast only recently finished filming the final ever series of the TV show. But, seeing how they clearly enjoyed this latest stage experience together, don't be surprised if this Farewell tour gets a re-run later.