Taking on this assignment, I wasn’t entirely sure how much I would enjoy a James Blunt show. I happen to be a bit of a music snob who relishes liking things that everyone else doesn’t. So I obviously had reservations about attending the performance of a guy who became famous off a Top 40 hit.
Now, a show hosted by James Blunt is indeed a lot like what I expected – sing-a-long “oh-ooh-ohh” vocals, easily digestible song melodies, and a little bit of cheesiness. Example: This was Blunt’s Moon Landing tour, and his whole band donned astronaut onesies and entered to the theme of Stanley Kubrick’s A 2001 Space Odyssey.
That being said, the show, held May 12 at the Gothic Theater in Englewood, was surprisingly charming, mostly due to Blunt’s on-stage character. He is a totally lovable dork with a cute British accent who seems to be superbly happy that everyone comes out to see him perform.
His openers were the sweet, young hipsters from Brooklyn, Oh Honey, who are about one hit song away from breaking out on the big time. With a beautiful blonde lead female singer and an approachable guitar-playing guy at her side, they are poised to do very well on the folk-pop music scene. They are also set to open up for The Fray at Red Rocks this coming June, and worth keeping an eye on.
The show confirmed my already-formed predisposition that Blunt’s music is great to cry to. He seems to specialize in ballads about heartbreak, jaded lovers, and death- such as with his heartfelt No Tears, which ironically brought tears to my eyes. His lyrics are nimble and performed with such grace and dignity that you can’t help but transcend into a thoughtful space that some concerts try and prevent you from going to. We sang along to crowd favorites like Good-bye My Lover, High and, of course, You’re Beautiful.
The attendees of Blunt’s show were less categorized by age and more on a pretty consistent theme of couples, who made it seem like Blunt’s show was the romantic impetus for them to get frisky later on. I even noticed one grey-haired couple massaging each other on the upper-railing. I appreciated the public affection, but ultimately was made uncomfortable.
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That isn’t to say Blunt didn’t perform up-beat songs as well. Many of his tunes, like 1973, were indeed danceable, sometimes even bordering on ska or rockabilly. His sincere energy was amplified by his wonderful white-guy dance moves, such as kicking his feet back and forth while bobbing his head with a big fat smile, or gyrating onto his piano with gusto.
He performed with a full band, including a drummer, bass player, guitar, and back-up keyboard. Blunt also wielded multiple instruments during the performance, including the piano, which he seems to favor, guitar, and ukelele, which he used during his more jolly tunes.
His hands-down best talent though, is a breathy, rapturous voice that could soothe the devil himself. As long as he maintains that excellent asset, Blunt will continue to produce sounds worth listening to.
Despite really not wanting to like him, Blunt did indeed win me over. It just goes to show that even non-edgy pop musicians can prove to the most cynical of people (me) that they are worthy of a loyal fan-bases. I would say the ideal way to attend a James Blunt show is to take your significant other, get there early to grab a seat if possible, and enjoy the finer points of his live performance- as he is a truly talented and gracious gentleman.
Don’t forget to scope 303’s full photo gallery here.
Watch the video for the single Bonfire Heart from his Moon Landing album below: