Thursday, May 15, 2008

James Blunt Live in Singapore

Who: James Blunt
What: All The Lost Souls Tour

When: 13 May 2008, 8pm

Where: Singapore Indoor Stadium

British crooner James Blunt stopped by Singapore and I was fortunate enough to be part of the audience. I must say I had a great view as I was seated in the second row in front of the stage (gasp!) and Mr Blunt was just 5m away from where he was singing.

Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me as I left it in my friend's car, who sent it for repair at the workshop without taking my camera out (argh!), so he couldn't return it to me in time. These pics here are taken with my lousy Nokia phone, so the quality isn't that great.

Being so near also put some pressure on me because I had to act all interested and enthusiastic whenever he walked towards us and looked at us. It was also very strange to be so near the artist and being seated. Normally, at such a distance, I would be standing and jumping even. But this is a very different kind of concert and Mr Blunt's songs are not known to make you jump out of your seat.

So I went to the concert with knowledge of about 5 of his songs. After all, he has only released 2 albums to date. But I did like the songs from the second album that I heard on MTV (yes heard, not watched).

Mr Blunt appeared on stage at about 8:25pm, accompanied by his 4 piece band. It was quite a simple set-up. The lights weren't too fancy and the projector displayed some boring powerpoint background videos and ocassionally some video footage of him.

As I did not recognise most of the songs that were played, i can't really list out the set list. Even if I could, I can't remember how they sounded like. So I shall just tell you what I remember about the concert.

My favourite performance of the night was Goodbye My Lover, where he performed it solo, on the piano, with just a single spotlight shining down on him. I was never a big fan of the song after hearing it on radio and in CD shops, but it sounded good live. My colleague also rightly pointed out that his voice is not as shrill and irritating as he sounds on the CD.

As amazing as it may sound, Mr Blunt had a horde of over-enthusiastic and screaming adoloscent fans who screamed almost throughout the concert. In response to them, an ang moh guy seated somewhere behind me shouted "James, I really like you in a manly kind of way!" during their downtime. That was quite funny.

The band was ok, not too fancy or memorable, and it's largely due to the material and not because of their lack of showmanship or musicianship. During one of the more uptempo songs, Mr Blunt encouraged the audience to get on their feet and clap along to the beat, but the music wasn't "hot" enough to warrant me standing up voluntarily to clap. That was his most upbeat song for the night, but it wasn't that hot in my opinion.

There was also a moment of rockstar excess during his last song for the main set, where a giant Sabian gong was lowered onto the stage, and for the last note of the song, he whacked the gong, presumably to end the show with a bang. It's quite gimmicky and a blatant plug for the Sabian brand.

Naturally there was an encore, and Mr Blunt obliged by singing 3 more songs. I also liked the performance of Same Mistake. It's a nice song. He then closed the show with 1973, his "hit" single from the second album.

All in all, I thought it was an ok concert. At times, I felt like I was in a pub listening to him sing, probably due to the fact that I was seated. But then again, I might be biased, because after watching the Foos, everything else pales in comparison. It was a show that I would not have paid to watch, and if you missed it, you don't have to pinch yourself for it.


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