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North East Post
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Graham Clark
Music Features Writer
@Maxximum23Clark
8:08 AM 1st April 2024
arts
Review

James Blunt - Looking Sharp On Tour

 
James Blunt
Photo: Graham Clark
James Blunt Photo: Graham Clark
Think of James Blunt, and inevitably his worldwide hit You’re Beautiful comes to mind. The British singer-songwriter appears to the casual observer to sit musically in the middle of the road—ground covered by a generation before him by the likes of Chris De Burgh with his hit The Lady in Red.

His army of fans, though, knows differently, as the former Blues and Royal squadron officer gave a commanding performance in Leeds on the first night of his British tour at the Leeds Arena.

His wit, charm, and interaction with his audience were masterclasses in how not to take yourself too seriously. “I have a whole new set of songs to play you, but the same old band—they couldn’t be employed by anyone else after working with me,” he joked.

James Blunt
Photo: Graham Clark
James Blunt Photo: Graham Clark
His popularity lies in having memorable songs: Goodbye My Lover had the sold-out audience singing the song back in jubilant unison, Postcards came with a sunny ukulele backing, and a cover of the Slade hit Coz I Luv You was turned from its original pop stomp into a ragtime reveller during which he jumped down from the stage to run through the audience. Rather than being mauled by his fans, the respect between him and his fans was apparent as they touched hands appreciatively.

After the inevitable rendition of You’re Beautiful, the moment could have been an excuse to put your coat on and go home, though there was far more to come. When Blunt’s career seemed to be on the wane a few years ago, he teamed up with European artist Robin Schulz on OK, a dance-inspired number that re-ignited his fortunes, in the Arena it sounded magical, magnificent, and masterful.

Monsters, a song Blunt wrote as a touching farewell to his father, was an emotional moment in what had been a buoyant set from this often understated and misunderstood artist.

As 1973 closed the evening, with Blunt now standing on top of his piano, he appeared as sharp as ever in music and humour.

The tour continued with further dates in the north:

Thursday 4th April - Newcastle Arena
Friday 12th April- Manchester Arena