Monday’s are always a tough one to get myself to a gig. After a long day at work, I opted to take a train to the gig so I could squeeze some editing in on the train. Manchester O2 Ritz is located directly across from Mancher Oxford Road train station so it was an extremely quick journey to the gig.
The first step was to collect my pass as usual. I’ve talked about this many times as a gig photographer as it is always one of the challenges we tend to face. This venue was an absolute dream. Security were great and I had no problems collecting my pass. This always makes the whole experience a hell of a lot nicer!
We had the choice of shooting from the balcony or the mixing desk which was slightly frustrating but also a very nice challenge. The venue is spacious and despite it being an extremely busy gig, there was room to play with. I headed up to the balcony and met a couple of photographers which I’ve heard of but never had the pleasure of meeting. One of which was Sakura (www.rockphotographer.co.uk) who is the house photographer at O2 Ritz amongst a couple of other venues. We chatted until we started shooting and it was lovely to hear other photographers stories and advice. It reminded me of exactly why I started Shout About It. If you’re reading this, it was great to meet you Sakura & Zoey!
Anyway, enough rambling on about photography. The evening was about the incredibly talented Maren Morris on the penultimate night of her U.K headline tour ‘Hero’. I’ve followed Maren’s music career for the past year or so and have really enjoyed seeing her rise to success and win the hearts of millions each sides of the Atlantic.
Maren gave a stunning vocal throughout the evening with hits such as ‘Sugar’ and her new song ‘Flavour’. My favourite moments of the gig had to be where the room fell silent as Maren explained the stories behind songs such as ‘I Could Use A Love Song’. It was clear that the country fans in the room had a lot of love and respect for the story behind the album.
The Hero Tour has been supported by Maren’s fiancé Ryan Hurd. Ryan was the perfect opener, again reflecting the country style of giving the audience intimacy and telling the story of songs he had written for the likes of Tim McGraw and Lady Antebellum. With songs from his first solo EP such as ‘Love In A Bar’, Ryan won the audience over with his husky country and stories of how they met. Ryan later came back onto stage to join Maren in singing ‘I Wish I Was’ from the album.
The evening had a perfect mix of ballads and up-tempo songs with Maren delivering an incredible vocal throughout. With talk of her coming back to the UK, I can’t wait to hear more new music and see her live again.
Words & Photographs by Georgia Flynn