James Blunt @ Royal Concert Hall 19/01/08
By Helen Sentance
Former army man still has the teenage spirit inside him.
Part eco warrior, part war poet and part pop star; James Blunt took is in town. As the lights went down the big screen showed a trail for Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ before the opening bars of The Specials "Ghost Town" heralded the arrival of the band on stage.
With the dark themes that run through most his lyrics set against pure pop music it's little wonder the he attracts such a diverse audience; there were people of all ages with some multi-generation family groups.
The hour and a half long set moved fairly equally between Blunt's two albums. Aided by a strong backing band with Blunt playing acoustic guitar from the opening song, they moved easily through his more upbeat songs including High, to a change of pace with Blunt changing to piano for a haunting solo rendition of Goodbye My Lover.
This was followed by No Bravery which was accompanied by powerful images of the Kosovo war including soldiers, children, land mines and graves; which have so obviously shaped James Blunt as a songwriter.
The band returned to the stage for the song Annie followed by a very good rock cover version of Supertramp's Breakfast in America which, despite Nottingham being the only fully seated venue on the whole tour, had the audience up on their feet.
The concert moved on through many of his best known songs finishing initially with So Long Jimmy before an encore which finally ended with 1973.
When Blunt talked between songs he came across as being self depreciating, well humoured and articulate. His performance possessed a surprising energy with him at times leaping around the stage like a teenager.
The opening line of Goodbye My Lover asks ‘Did I disappoint you?’ Judging by the reaction from the crowd in Nottingham the answer was most definitely not.
last updated: 21/01/2008 at 18:48