A trip to Sheffield City Hall this week to see 2012 X Factor winner James Arthur.
James seems to have done what few former singing competition winners have managed and that is to last the test of time and more importantly remain credible. Based on tonight’s performance I can understand why as he has an incredible voice, great songs and a huge mixed-age fan base.
Opening up with 4000 miles, a sold-out crowd immediately rose to its feet to greet James. Due to the all-seater venue, us photographers have to crouch or sit down on the floor to shoot so as not to impede the audience’s view, so when this happens we can stand up too, very welcome knee relief!
James has a fantastic band, made up of elite musicians, who compliment his style really well. They powered through a fantastic set made up of huge hits, new songs and more laid back acoustic / piano-based tracks.
What I found really compelling about James was his ability to mix high energy up tempo tunes with softer acoustic tracks. This in my view is down to his vocal prowess, which cuts effortlessly across genres, impressively his voice sounds just as good live as on record.
Highlights for me were Rewrite the Stars with James teasing the audience that Anne Marie (who he duets with on this track) was backstage waiting to join him.. sadly he was joking but still delivered the song to perfection. Newer material like Last of the Whisky from the latest album shone through.
On this particular night, James’s father was in the audience, I was by complete coincidence sitting next to him. Clearly, he is bursting with pride often shouting ‘I love ya son’ with James replying ‘I love ya
Dad’ it added some real emotion to an already fantastic evening.
Finishing the main set with the now-classic track Impossible the audience sang every word, bringing the house down with rapturous applause and chants for an encore. James didn’t disappoint finishing with ballad Train Wreck and up-tempo Lasting Lover, completing the set with the now almost two billion! (yes billion!) streamed Say You Won’t Let Go.
I took along a good friend to see the show and both of us absolutely agreed that this had been a brilliant night. James is a class act with entertaining, honest and heartfelt audience interaction, clearly, his journey to date has seen its ups and downs. We were all left in no doubt though that there is much more to come from this talented Middlesbrough born star.
If you haven’t got tickets for the UK tour don’t worry as James promised an arena tour later this year. I for one will definitely be going to one of those dates, camera in hand or otherwise.
Check out James’s latest album It’ll All Make Sense in the End’ on all major streaming platforms and go and see him live to really experience how good he is.