Lets be honest, watching James Blunt could’ve gone very wrong for me. I’m regularly accused of music snobbery (something I’m not sure I agree with but I see where they’re coming from) and with this being a charity gig the crowd was always going to be a little bit apathetic.Advertisement
It didn’t get any better as the day went on. Traffic from Birmingham to Preston meant I literally walked onto the site as James Blunt came on stage and the rain was coming down hard for someone without the foresight to pack a waterproof.
James Blunt managed to pull it off though. Aside from his strong back catalogue, he’s got a tremendous self-awareness that was necessary to overcome the negativity he faced earlier in his career. His between song ‘banter’ is stronger than most chart artists even if his voice grates on occasion.
The songs themselves are exactly what you’ve come to expect. He relies heavily on his first album to get a reaction from the crowd with Wisemen, High and Goodbye My Lover going down particularly well early in the set. Late in the main set he starts You’re Beautiful which results in a few tears amongst an otherwise fairly tame crowd.
As the sun completely vanishes and Stay The Night begins, the set reaches its peak. The stage show really comes into its own and so does Blunt – it’s a shame the set didn’t start half an hour later so we don’t get to enjoy it for longer. As I stand there sopping wet in my The National top, I forget myself a little bit, if only briefly.
It wasn’t a life-changing set (see the top that I wore for that) but it was a set full of reliable acoustic tracks and Blunt was the perfect choice for this sort of gig. Playing to a packed field (though sadly, you couldn’t actually see the Tower), he probably helped raise a lot of money for St. Catherine’s Hospice and that’s infinitely more important than whether he’s actually any good or not. I’d probably say exactly the same about Katherine Jenkins who plays tonight at Hoghton Tower.
And anyway, at its best I enjoyed it so maybe I could shelve my cynicism more often.
Now read: Katherine Jenkins sparkles at second night of Symphony at the Tower
Did you go along? What did you think of James Blunt? Let us know in the comments below