After a three months North American tour, where he supported Ed Sheeran, this autumn James Blunt is back now in Europe with his Album “The Afterlove” and also stopped at Zurich’s Hallenstadion. A typical James Blunt concert – beautiful, catchy and funny. Maybe with a Little less stories and jokes as before.
So about 1 hour after doors opened and about 1 hour before the concerts started I walked through bag and ticket controls without even queuing, got myself some dinner and even went quickly to the toilet. Still I ended easily in second row.
Where’s the audience? Did I first believe that the Hallenstadion was probably going to be quite empty, I soon realized that I luckily was wrong. It didn’t seem sold out, but still it was very well visited. There were men and woman in the front rows older than me. Next to them were teen-couples standing. So a totally mixed audience.
Jamie Lawson and the saddest song ever
British singer/Songwriter Jamie Lawson kicked off the evening. I have had heard and read so much about him before, so I was totally excited to finally see him live. And I didn’t get disappointed.
With “It’s cold in Ohio” he started his set and continued with “Don’t Say You Love Me”. His songs are all very quiet, all of them beautiful. About the one or other one the Brit kept telling something about. For “The Only Conclusion” he got inspired by Sheldon Cooper, the figurehead of the US geek-series “The Big Bang Theory” (yes, one of my fave series too). It was the episode, in which Sheldon realized that the feelings for his girlfriend Amy only could be love.
Jamie Lawson is the first artist Ed Sheeran signed to his label “Gingerbread Man Records”. Jamie’s album “Happy Accidents” was released through it at the end of September 2017. The first single, “Can’t see straight”, he has written with his boss, who luckily was Ed Sheeran. Of course the audience cheered for Ed. Yes, one might have heard about Ed before, Jamie waved aside grinningly.
Among others he let the audience sing along to “A little mercy”, so that the vocal cords would be warmed up for James Blunt. And because James Blunt is known for his super sad songs, with “The last spark” Jamie wanted to bring in a song into the competition for “the saddest song ever” as well. After the concert one should tell him at the merchandise stand, if he was successful. he sure was close 😉 But judge yourself by listening to it here [video].
With “Wasn’t expecting that” Jamie played his best known song, before the likable musician finally said goodbye with “Ahead of myself” and made room for James Blunt.
James Blunt very personal
James Blunt and his 4 member band got off energetic and catchy with “Heart To Heart”. In the background there was a huge LED wall, where graphics and music videos were shown. Song after song was accompanied by an extensive light show. With “I’ll take everything” as well as “Wisemen” some more songs of the older albums followed right at the beginning.
About 3,5 years are in-between the last album “Moon Landing” and his actual work “The Afterlove”. James always took his time for his albums. With his wedding and the birth of his son in-between he of course had even a more important reason to take this time. You don’t only notice in the album title what he was inspired by but you can also hear it in some songs.
In “Time of our lives” he’s singing about his wedding day. “Make me better”, one of the most personal songs, is also written about his wife and son. With both songs he was supported by Ed Sheeran, who encouraged him to open up his heart. During their collaboration James used to teach skiing to Ed back home in Verbier at daytime. At night Ed was teaching songwriting to him. James’ wife thinks that “Make Me Better” is the most romantic song Ed has ever written, James kept joking 😉
Yes, by now we all know that James is not just the mellow bard, but loves self-mockery and sometimes got quite some salty humour. You just have to follow his tweets, the media already has reported enough about 😉 He can be serious too though, what the new song “Someone singing along” prooves. Even he was joking, when announcing the song, that it was actually about US president Trump, what he couldn’t mention on the US tour.
Even he kept messing around and joking, this evening James seemed somehow not as talkative and funny as usually. Actually he seemed to be quite reluctant compared to the last shows. Well, the jokes with the ukulele, the “mini guitar”, ahead of “Postcards” or that “You’re beautiful” actually was a total stalker song, he told already at the shows before. 😉
More important though was that I disliked the setlist a lot less than feared. What means that I liked his song choice in generally even very well. The new album with these synthie dj-beats became actually a lot more electronic, but there was barely a song I didn’t like in the end.
The new ballades are as beautiful as the ones before. Some of my highlights sure were “Make Me Better” or when he sat down at the piano all by himself for “Goodbye My Lover”. Only towards the end the one or other unloved song like “Lose My Number” or “Bartener” was added. “Love me better” he luckily didn’t even play.
During the Robin Schulz song “OK” I took flight though. This isn’t working AT ALL. Well, I’ve got to add that I would have had to leave direction train station latest one song later anyway. I would have missed most of the encore in any case. 😉 So I definitely didn’t want to do this to me and left the concert early. Otherwise I would have sat through it, because the encore was more my taste again. But well, it is how it is.
Setlist (source Setlist.fm): Heart To Heart I'll Take Everything Wisemen Time Of Our Lives Heartbeat Someone Singing Along Goodbye My Lover High Lose My Number Carry You Home Postcards Make Me Better You're Beautiful Same Mistake Bartener OK Don't Give Me Those Eyes Stay The Night 1973 Bonfire Heart
I am still looking forward to the next concert of Mr Blunt and his band. He’s just a great musician with songs, I like most of them. Furthermore he’s a charmer and joker. Once again it was a nice and solid concert I eventually don’t have to complain too much about.
Performance at Stars in Town
By the way, shortly after the concert had started, I got an email notification that James Blunt was going to take part in Stars In Town in Schaffhausen next summer. Was this by chance or was transmission planned just like this? 😉 Whether it will be my next James Blunt concert, I can’t tell yet though. Certain is only the dates collision during the sommer festival season 😉
Info about Jamie Lawson you can find on jamielawsonmusic.com