REVIEW: Texas at Westonbirt Arboretum for Forest Live
I've been to many gigs in my 31 years (and counting) so far, but there are few places as spectacular as Westonbirt Arboretum to watch live music.
The Forestry England site recently hosted four musical acts including Rag'n'Bone Man, Keane, Madness and Scottish rock band Texas as part of this year's Forest Live event and I was lucky enough to go to both Rag'n'Bone Man and Texas.
Read: I took my 81-year-old grandma to see Rag'n'Bone Man at Westonbirt - here's how it went
The series of shows was capped off by the Sharleen Spiteri-fronted group in the Westonbirt arena, a circular clearing surrounded by an array of trees, on a sunny Sunday evening and, honestly, what a match it was.
Texas have been going since 1986 and their brand of classic early-90s pop-leaning rock was the perfect accompaniment to the stunning outdoor setting- leading to a relaxed, yet upbeat atmosphere.
I wouldn't have described myself as a Texas fan and I certainly couldn't have named more than three of their songs if hard-pressed but even I was surprised by how many of the songs I recognised, and enjoyed, as the band rattled through their greatest hits.
Westonbirt also seemed to attract a slightly older more mild-mannered crowd than normal, people more interested in getting a good spot to set up a camping chair than how close to the front they can get.
Read: Texas frontwoman Sharleen Spiteri on Westonbirt Arboretum venue for upcoming gig
But Spiteri, as polished a lead singer as you'll find, knew exactly what to do to draw the party atmosphere out of people, regularly encouraging people to get on their feet and dance. The longer the set went on the more and more people found themselves standing at the front, leaving behind large amounts of abandoned chairs in their wake.
Songs like Halo, Summer Sun, In Demand, Black Eyed Boy and Inner Smile sounded great with the natural acoustics of the clearing and with Spiteri's voice which is still as good as ever, as did the unexpected Elvis cover in the encore.
For a band that's a quarter of a decade old and has likely done thousands of live performances, it was a real thrill to see them perform because they looked like they were having fun, especially with a lot of the between-song onstage banter between band members.
And I was having fun too, as were the thousands of other people there, all of which had helped to ensure that Forestry England could continue its vital work and plant more trees. What could be better than that?