Before I start with my review on the recent tour James Blunt did here in South Africa last week, I feel it necessary to point out that, for me, James Blunt was always one of the most annoying musicians. His screechy voice, nerdy look, depressing ballads. Nothing worked for me. Sure, he had a couple of songs that I didn’t hate, but overall, James Blunt just rubbed me the wrong way.
Late last year, when James announced that he will be bringing his Moon Landing tour to South Africa for four shows, I didn’t really care for it. At this point, you’re surely asking yourself why I even went to the show, right? I’ll tell you the honest truth – I love music. Being in the entertainment industry I get exposed to a whole bunch of artists and just because I am not a fan doesn’t mean I won’t take up the opportunity to see an international act live.
I also reviewed the deluxe edition of James’ Moon Landing album late last year and was shocked to find some tracks that I actually didn’t mind so I was at least excited to hear a few tracks. Nakhane Toure opened for James. I didn’t really get the fit but the dude has a brilliant voice – so I was happy. As it turns out, I only got to hear ‘Fog’, the last song Nakhane played because I was backstage meeting James – and what a nice guy he is! He was also awarded a gold award for his latest album after it sold 20 000 copies in South Africa.
Now, James finally took the stage. I must be honest and say that I found his theme quite cute. He and his band were dressed in astronaut themed overalls and the band was positioned on spaceship-like podiums. James started the show with a track off the latest album called ‘Face The Sun’ and didn’t do much for me. It was only at around track five that James really caught my attention. He performed his smash hit ‘Wisemen’ – a track I had completely forgotten about and totally blew me away.
James has a voice and a half on him. Sure, it can get super annoying but at the parts where then music is low and his voice is almost the only instrument being used is when you can’t help but get goosebumps. He was one of the better artists I have seen vocally and it was something that was completely unexpected for me.
The guy, as we have seen on Twitter, is hilarious as well – and he brought his true self to the show (as you can see in the video posted below). That was something important for me. A lot of artists forget the power of crowd interaction and how it can affect a live performance.
Speaking of crowd interaction, about 8 or so songs before the end of the show, James invited everyone to stand close to the stage and have a sort of intimate party together with him. It must have been annoying as hell for those who paid a lot of money to be in the front row, but it also shows the kind of performer and kind of person he is. He aims to please. Not only did he run through the crowd but he stage-dived as well which was hilarious.
James is a true artist as well. He sings, plays piano, guitar and even the ukulele and the fact that he writes all of his songs himself (with some help) proves that he is the real deal.
I left a fan. He completely changed my perception of him. I have a new appreciation for his voice (even though it still annoys me at times) but man, I am counting down the days until he returns to South Africa for his next tour.
Face the Sun
I’ll Take Everything
Blue on Blue
Carry You Home
These Are the Words
Goodbye My Lover
I Really Want You
Coz I Luv You
Heart to Heart
So Long, Jimmy
Stay the Night
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