By Poppy Tohill
Artist: James Blunt
Date / Venue: Wednesday May 28th, Civic Theatre, Auckland
James Blunt was born for the stage. There was nothing that proved more obvious than this at his show on Wednesday night at Auckland's Civic Theatre.
Making a fantastic debut in New Zealand were Australian duo Busby Marou, who in support of James Blunt, set the tone for the rest of the night perfectly with their set of smooth, upbeat and rhythmical tunes. It was clear that they deservedly gained many new fans that night, and I for one am already awaiting their return, as it's only a matter of time before the rest of New Zealand realise just how incredibly talented they are.
As time went on, the countdown to be launched into space began. As the room completely blackened the dramatic ‘2001, Space Odyssey' theme intensely blasted the eager audience, as the anticipation for Blunt's arrival grew.
As the stage remained unlit, you could faintly make out the musicians walking on stage, eventually followed by Blunt who sent the crowd into a fanatic state of cheers. As the lights gradually brightened in time with the piano intro for ‘Face The Sun,' we soon got our first proper sight of Blunt who was seated at the piano dressed in what appeared to be astronaut gear to set the mood for the ‘Moonlanding Tour,' in honour of his latest album with the same name.
Following this, Blunt remained sitting at the piano for ‘I'll Take Everything' from his 2007 album, ‘All The Lost Souls,' striking an overly dramatic pose, and pointing forward from time to time during the performance.
Blunt is one of those exceptional artists who when performing live sounds scarily identical to the way he does on his albums. If you just closed your eyes as he took to centre stage strapping on an acoustic guitar for the beautifully melodic ‘Blue On Blue,' it felt as though you could have been anywhere listening to his record, as his stunning vocals echoed throughout the entire room.
After an exceptional performance of ‘High,' Blunt finally talked to the crowd, jokingly informing us that we shouldn't be afraid of the people standing at the front dancing on the side as he employed them, although he's not sure how much he's paying them.
‘Billy' a track from his debut album, ‘Back to Bedlam,' truly showcased his sheer and utter confidence, clearly proving why he belongs on the stage. Utilizing the space entirely, strutting and prancing around the stage with guitar in hand, pulling exemplary humourous facials, and impressively not taking his eyes off the audience once.
‘Wisemen,' another track from ‘Back to Bedlam' was the first tune which launched the crowd into singing, also receiving a great deal of applause, as Blunt added to the ‘where are you now' lyrics, by finishing on, "We are in Auckland baby!"
‘Carry You Home,' proved another highlight for the crowd, as everyone joined in helping Blunt sing a few versus. Then announcing it was time to "bring out the big guns," he put his guitar aside and picked up the ukulele for my personal favourite, happy, upbeat tune ‘Satellites,' whereby the crowd happily joined in singing the chorus.
"Right that's enough happy songs," Blunt announced, as he took to the piano for ‘Miss America' a song he explained he'd written about Whitney Houston.
Following that, there was plenty of standing, clapping and singing along as Blunt and his audience fed off each others energy.
‘Postcards' and ‘Goodbye My Lover' proved two more ultimate favourites amongst the crowd, before Blunt went on to end his set with ‘Same Mistake,' ‘You're Beautiful' and ‘So Long Jimmy,' all of which he gave mesmerising performances of.
The chance of an encore didn't even need to be questioned. As Blunt and his band of talented musicians took to the stage once more for a three song affair, kicking it off with my ‘re-discover James Blunt' favourite, ‘Stay The Night.' ‘Bonfire Heart' was next, before he drew the night to an end, just as he had started, on piano, for his incredibly popular single, ‘1973' which left absolutely everyone leaving on the highest buzz possible as he fare welled the audience standing on top of his upright piano, saluting the crowd.