James Blunt at the Royal Albert Hall
Against the iconic backdrop of the Royal Albert Hall, British Grammy Award nominee and Brit Award winner James Blunt takes to the stage for the final show of his Covid-postponed Once Upon a Mind tour. Casually dressed and ready to showcase an evening of well-known hits and new releases from his sixth studio album, he opens with a heartfelt rendition of How it Feels to be Alive and is instantaneously and rightfully rewarded with a sea of rapturous applause.
The singer-songwriter is accompanied by his fellow band members who merge their musical talents perfectly with his distinct vocals. In his familiar self-deprecating manner, he tells the audience that although his “speaking voice had been effected by [Covid] symptoms …. the chink in the armour of Covid is that [he] can definitely still sing”.
Switching seamlessly between acoustic guitar, ukulele and piano, Blunt soon has eager fans singing along to Wisemen, Goodbye my Lover and You’re Beautiful, taken from his debut studio album Back to Bedlam. Eventually viewers are caving in to the artist’s request for mobile phone torches to be switched on to form an effective swathe of moving stars.
A dabble in electronic music (possibly inspired from the performer’s move to Ibiza) has been pushed aside for a return to the softer ballads in his new record, much like those that gained him such huge international success. The piano-led song Champions has an anthem-style weight to it, whilst the radio hit single Cold tells the tale of long-distance love with the gravitas of a man ruled by his heart.
Clearly a family man, the singer talks of his small children, dedicating the emotive track I Told You to them and even coaxing his shy wife on to the stage to wish her a huge happy birthday before launching into the love-sick single Postcards, for which the crowd are up on their feet for the remainder of the night.
Finishing up with Bonfire Heart the audience sway along like religious devotees, and with over 20 million albums sold worldwide to his name, Blunt proves once again why he’s one of our most enduring pop stars.
Photos: Virginie Viche
For further information and future events visit James Blunt’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Cold here: