REVIEW: James Morrison at O2 Apollo, Manchester


MULTI-AWARD winning UK artist James Morrison performed at Manchester’s O2 Apollo last night, and almost blew the roof off one of Manchester’s finest musical venues. Quays News entertainment reporter Daniel Willis was in attendance to relive his youth…

Currently embarking on his 2016 UK Tour, Morrison made his way to Manchester alongside promising young artist Kelvin Jones – who was his support act for the evening, and both offered the most stellar performances to the gratification of the Manchester faithful.

The night kicked off at 8pm when Kelvin Jones kicked off his set with a beautiful rendition of ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ originally by US sensation The Weeknd. Jones made this version his own though, slowing down the song and creating a much more mellow, relaxed acoustic vibe which helped bring in the early audience who were still making their way to their seats.

Instantly the audience connected to Kelvin – his soft-spoken voice when talking to the audience coupled with his humour made him instantly likeable to a near sold-out crowd.

What really brought the audience to life, however, was his already successful original hit ‘Call You Home’ which has amassed over 450K views on YouTube. Jones lifted some members of the audience out of their seats as his wide-ranged vocals managed to get him a standing ovation after his terrific performance.

It would be criminal to suggest the soloist didn’t make a massive impact with his set at the home of some of the best music in the world – if Manchester loves you, you’re the real deal!

Kelvin Jones’ first album ‘Stop The Moment’ was released in October of last year, however it has yet to be released in the UK – keep it locked though, because if his tour with James Morrison is anything to go by, he’ll be releasing a lot more albums in the future.

With Jones’ set finished, up next was the main attraction, Mr. James Morrison.

He opened his set with ‘Under the Influence’ which may have been more unknown to casual James Morrison fans – but his committed legion of followers were instantly up on their feet and a few over-zealous fans saw themselves thrown out the venue by security early on – talk about money wasted!

Following this was ‘I Won’t Let You Go’ and his ability to change the mood instantly in the room was incredible. Fans savoured every last word, and he was able to transform a rocking room into a quiet, melodic room through his innate ability of changing his vocal tone throughout his set.

The next song for Morrison held a much more personal meaning to him – after telling the audience of the birth of his child just a few years back, he mentioned how this next song was about how much he had grown up from his ‘clumsier’ younger days. ‘Something Right’ struck a chord with the audience, and he duly received a standing ovation for this song alone.

Wonderful World’ was next, a song which he released back in 2006 as part of his ‘Undiscovered’ album, and if he already didn’t know, Morrison had the audience in the palm of his hand. One of the fan favourites, this song not only was of delight for the fans – but the 14-year-old me revelled inside having finally listened to one of my favourite songs from my childhood.

Then also from his ‘Discovered‘ album, he played the namesake of the album – ‘Discovered’. Again, his loyal following loved his combination of newer Pop/Blues sound against his older, more acoustic music.

If You Don’t Wanna Love Me’ followed this, after listening to previous songs in his set it was easy to gather how Morrison got noticed originally – his early music is incredibly emotive – which always sells records.

His number one hit ‘Broken Strings’ which featured Nelly Furtado originally, was eagerly anticipated. Unfortunately Furtado wasn’t in attendance, but without her, Morrison still absolutely nailed it. He drew in the audience once again and had the crowd singing in loud unison, which made for an amazing atmosphere.

As Morrison got closer to the end of the set he played ‘Need You Tonight’ which a lady had shouted out from the audience as a song he should play, so he decided to do it – she was best pleased, and so was the audience, as his more electronic, instrumental based new music almost trumped his entire set.

But then came that moment, the moment everyone was waiting for…

You Give Me Something’ then arrived. This was his first hit and wow, the audience erupted upon the opening note. The musician finished with this and definitely gave a lively audience their money’s worth.

James Morrison might not have released much new material over recent years – however don’t under estimate his power to still fill venues, and his ability to get any audience on their feet. You can’t beat the classics and Morrison is a living embodiment of that!

By Daniel Willis

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  1. Pingback: Behind the lens with Kelvin Jones | Ambient

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