James Blunt - Royal Albert Hall, London
James Blunt. His face alone could define the term irrational hatred. Sure, he sold his family on ebay for a few magic beans, but on the flip side he averted WW3 with just a pocket knife and sheer determination. It’s not like he’s been a dick about it or anything though. In fact, as his Twitter feed has been proving lately, turns out he's self-effacing and an all round good egg.
He’s an artist who’s clearly done with his naysayers. At one point in tonight’s show he dedicates perhaps his most derided song in ‘You’re Beautiful’ to the seemingly hapless Caroline Sullivan of The Guardian. To negate Mr. Blunt’s achievements with vitriol seems pretty futile at this point; a boring trend that’s best bucked, yet, he’ll always be there, ready to quip back and take on the fight should it present itself. Certainly tonight, Blunt’s self-deprecating humour was in full effect. His acknowledgement that the men in the audience are probably victims of their better half’s insistence that it’s gonna be a great show, is followed by apologies, regardless as to whether or not he really cares.
Fuck it anyway, he’s playing all the songs for his adoring female fanbase - whom he has no trouble commanding to his will - and you better all bloody well sit there and at least try to enjoy it. Early signs were admittedly concerning; Blunt sits there, almost obscured by his piano as he plods through a couple of numbers before getting off his arse and planting himself front of stage with acoustic guitar at the ready, playing through a sequence of numbers that no doubt reflect all the heartbreak he’s ever gone through. I mean, does it get any cheerier than this? Thankfully it does and once Blunt hits his stride the gags fly faster and the tempo raises. Backed by a spectacular light show, inspired by everything from the old Apollo landings to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, filling the sold out auditorium with starry patterns and shooting lasers in an attempt to whisk everyone away to another world for 100 minutes. In-between playing through the obligatory hits and new material from his Moon Landing album, Blunt talked, dropped a few f-bombs, ran around a bit and hi-fived his fans; wore a flight helmet with little pomposity and even lambasted the Chinese, French and Germans. Hats off to you, sir.
Captain Blunt and his Moon Men landed with good grace in South Kensington this evening, and took off with well deserved applause. There are certainly worse things to be “dragged along” to.
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