Tom Grennan at the O2 Arena
Tom Grennan opens his first ever arena tour by skipping into an energetic rendition of If Only from the album Evering Road, soulful backing singers adding a rich depth to his already impressive voice. There’s no denying that Grennan is an exceptional performer with magnetic stage presence, ardent passion and great vocals; perhaps most importantly, he seems like a nice guy who cares about his fans.
Upon seeing an audience member faint, the star stops the show, checks they are okay, runs to the back and throws his water bottle into the crowd, asking them to look out for each other. Before the encore, he spends time taking photos with fans’ phones, commenting on how many are on social media app Be Real. He also shares the stage with other performers and really celebrates them, seeming genuinely happy for them to enjoy the limelight. There’s a husky duet with Ella Henderson for a cover of her song Let’s Go Home Together, and another collaboration with support artist Gracey for a flashing, fiery rendition of Not Over Yet / All Goes Wrong. Don’t Break the Heart is an exhilarating highlight, and Here is preceded by a touching speech about family, friends, and most of all yourself being everything, encouraging the audience to be here for themselves. Towards the end of the set, euphoric, colourful, upbeat anthem Lionheart (Fearless) transports the venue from 10pm on a Thursday to a celebration of life in Ibiza.
The production for the show is polished and on-point, the only criticism being a slight overuse of sparklers. There are three screens to help the audience keep up with what Grennan is doing, also used for video footage and special effects. During Psychedelic Kisses a hazy green and blue lighting effect accompanies multi-coloured kissing mouths, which act as a writhing border around the display on which the artist appears. It’s a fun and visually engaging effect. All of These Nights has a rectangular screen surrounded by a novel blue or pink border, like a card, with line-drawn versions of the singer performing the song in the middle. A neon heart appears to the words “say you love me” before multiple smaller ones dance into it and the audience sings jubilantly along. Here incorporates a really touching display of Polaroid photos of the Bedford boy as a child or teenager, as confetti falls from the sky like snow.
Grennan has a strong, distinctive voice and star quality – one feels one is hearing something special. He performs with enthusiasm and strikes the right balance between club party anthems and heartfelt ballads, all the while seeming genuinely humble and excited to be there. He plays his audience effortlessly, and radiates the kind of authentic confidence only someone who has done a lot of work on themselves can have. This is a fantastic night at the O2, highlighting a talented performer who is not to be overlooked.
Photo: Nicholas O’Donnell
For further information and future events visit Tom Grennan’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Don’t Break the Heart here: