As the venue starts to fill, there is a sense of excitement in the air. You can tell that this is a lot of people’s first gigs since the pandemic began and what a way for them to get back into things. The support slot is being filled by Gavin James who is another talented man with a guitar and it’s easy to see why he was picked for this tour; his Irish charm and personality matches Blunt’s and let’s us all know we’re in for a calm but very fun night.
James Blunt’s show begins bang on time with three lowered screens showing code to get the audience prepared. They’re a quiet lot but as the right screen rises and James comes running out, there’s a huge round of applause and screams to fill half capacity arena. We’re treated to a dramatic start as he begins on ‘Breathe’ and whilst the crowd don’t get on their feet, they’re clearly enjoying what’s being offered. This is a ‘Greatest Hits’ tour and so it’s only fitting that next up is ‘Wisemen’ which helps gets these gig goers loosen up a bit more. As the songs pass, the crowd get louder. ‘Goodbye My Lover’ and ‘High’ soon has everyone singing every word at the top of their lungs (even the sons and husbands who insist they have only come because of their mum/wife.)
The night takes a turn with ‘So Long, Jimmy’ turning this into more of a rock show. Surprisingly, this is one of the audience’s favourites and besides the absolute classics, this is undoubtedly the loudest they’ve been all night. The set list as a whole shows off just how diverse Mr. Blunt can be and all in all is very impressive. Childhood photos being shown during ‘Monsters’ makes the song even more emotional than usual but we’re given another turn as it’s swiftly followed by a ‘Slade’ cover. This roller coaster of a night isn’t complete with out James’ sense of humour; he dons a gas masks before running through the crowd only to have his party pooped by security stopping him before he could reach the right hand side of the audience.
Another surprise is that he doesn’t end this set list on ‘You’re Beautiful’. He walks off stage after another cover – this time ‘OK’ by Robin Schulz – and quickly returns to ask the audience which songs he should do next. As the venue goes crazy for ‘1973’ he’s quick to remark that ‘he only knows 2 more songs so…’ The audience are loving this short but sweet encore and there’s no doubt that ‘1973’ is what everyone has been waiting for as the stage is set with some beautiful rainbow lighting. It’s great to see someone so talented have such a sense of humour; whilst we didn’t get much small talk from James Blunt, when he did speak it was very funny and witty which made the entire night very enjoyable.