Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington, May 27
Reviewed by Colin Morris
Well, it's not hard to see why James Blunt is as successful as he is. He gave the audience 100 per cent, playing all the hits to an audience of mainly couples – couples who have probably met through his music. I wondered once or twice if we will see an increase in the Wellington population in nine months or so.
At 1.7 metres tall, Blunt is diminutive, his army nickname was "Weener" and with a slightly effeminate voice one wonders how he could, in the rank of officer, bark orders to a group of squaddies. Still, when he takes command on stage, as he did early on, you could feel there was only one person on stage, the band were certainly relegated to playing second fiddle.
The show starts with that old chestnut from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey heralding the band walking on to the stage to Richard Strauss' Thus Spake Zarathustra and it is a pity Blunt did not see fit to look at Nietzsche's lyrics as a guideline to his own writing skills, for it is here that Blunt often lets himself down.
With lines like "Will you be my shoulder when I'm grey and older" (High) and "Now I'm dancing with a broken heart/Ain't no doctor who can make it start" (These Are The Words) you get the feeling a job with Hallmark Cards is just around the corner. And Miss America, we are told, is a tribute to Whitney Houston making Candle in the Wind sound like an opera aria. There is a formula to Blunt's songs – Blue on Blue, Goodbye My Love and These Are the Words all deal with a failed love affair. Death rears its head in Miss America and Carry You Home and loneliness is central to Satellites.
Then just as I am getting the urge to run screaming from the auditorium I find several songs have registered – Postcards perfectly captured the essence of a British seaside resort and 1973 felt true to its essence. Blunt is amiable, immensely likeable, very self-assured and a huge audience pleaser.
- The Dominion Post
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