James Blunt at Kew the Music
It’s a glorious day in the grounds of Kew Gardens: the perfect setting to enjoy the music of James Blunt in the sun. With a mixture of feel-good nostalgia wrapped in singalong opportunities and good humour, it’s clear the singer relishes the live energy of being on-stage. Kew the Music festival is a very British affair, the audience enjoying picnics and pop hits simultaneously. They’re treated to a real show, from ballads to upbeat full-band performances, all underneath the beautiful London sunset.
Known as much for his witty tweets and comebacks as his chart-topping records, James Blunt offers no shortage of quips throughout the evening. “They invented a whole virus just to stop me singing,” he declared, explaining why the gig was postponed by two whole years. And it feels worth the wait, with the singer swiftly launching into older tracks Breathe and Wisemen, much to the crowd’s delight. There are quieter, meaningful moments interspersed too, for example, an emotional tribute to his father with Monsters on the piano under a single spotlight, or dedicating The Greatest to his kids – naturally accompanied by a wisecrack about forgetting they existed until lockdown.
Blunt is a natural and surprisingly versatile performer, managing to inject an abundance of variety, be it inviting phone torches for Same Mistake (and jokingly instructing the “oldies” how to oblige), whipping out a ukulele for Postcards, a guitar-led instrumental break in So Long Jimmy or even crowd-surfing. One of the highlights is literally forcing every single audience member to “get down” so that he can build to a climax with the entire crowd jumping, complete with flashing lights to take the party from day to night. It’s a performance masterclass. And of course, his vocal delivery – especially flying falsetto – is impressively note perfect too.
No show would be complete without 2005’s breakthrough hit You’re Beautiful, which is accompanied by thousands of unashamedly loud voices. Predictably, the artist saves his popular, more upbeat hits, Bonfire Heart and 1973 for the finale, which, even more predictably, is welcomed wildly. Blunt appears in his element in the relaxed setting of Kew Gardens. He’s a name that might no longer be considered so cool or relevant (he would proclaim these self-deprecating things himself), yet somehow one that should probably appear on every person’s live music bucket list – at least once.
For further information and future events visit James Blunt’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Adrenaline here: