James Blunt at Wembley Arena
The maxi screens on the stage of Wembley Arena go up, revealing James Blunt thumping at the rhythm of Breathe. The pandemic interrupted the artist’s last tour, but morale is still high for the London stop of the The Stars Beneath My Feet Tour. He is welcomed at Wembley to the ovation of an excited audience. The setlist for the night is a great mix of oldies interspersed with new songs, such as the captivating Love Under Pressure, just a few months old, characterised by strong dance-pop accents.
Wisemen ignites a loud singalong from the arena, which glides into the lullaby Carry You Home. The Greatest, dedicated to the NHS workers, is heartwarming.
“As you may know, I’ve got some pretty miserable songs up my sleeve,” Blunt jokes as he sits at the piano for Goodbye My Lover – a melancholy song, indeed, but the poetry of the lyrics and the mellow tune caress the ears.
With a swift change of instruments, the setlist go from low to High, a roaring hit. “It’s time to take out the big guns,” announces Blunt with open arms, after swapping the guitar for the ukulele. From here on, it is actually pretty difficult for anyone to get back to their seats: the upbeat Postcards is always a refreshing number – the artist simply cannot stand still, hopping back and forth across the stage between choruses. The atmosphere dramatically changes as the lights go off, and only smartphone torches shine in the dark; the powerful vocal of Same Mistakes fills the air.
In order not to miss the traditional crowd-dive for ‘Cuz I Love You, Blunt has come prepared in terms of Covid precautions: he wears a gas mask and runs euphorically through the rows of the arena and the hugs of the fans. The gig comes to an end with a bursting encore of Bonfire Heart and 1973.
The performance is lively with few dull points, although it lacks much verbal interaction with the audience except for a few anecdotes like the story of the recording in Carrie Fisher’s bathroom. Nonetheless, it’s a gift of pure live music, truly a love letter to the concertgoers – a beautiful beginning for a recharged tour.
Photos: Guifré de Peray
For further information and future events visit James Blunt’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Love Under Pressure here: