Classic. Passionate. Authentic.
These words were not far from mind when watching English singer-songwriter James Morrison in his full pomp at the Esplanade Concert Hall on the night of 2nd October. In an era where pop idols come across as fake, studied and pre-fabricated there is a genuineness about Morrison that is hard to ignore. This honesty in purpose is communicated by his uncanny revocation of old skool blue-eyed soul and by his amazing larynx. Backed by a group of competent musicians, Morrison was able to focus on doing what he did best – sing – and connect with his audience with his boyish charm.
The opening soul-pop onslaught of “Beautiful Life”, “This Boy”, “In My Dreams” and “Say Something Now” demonstrated the sheer richness of Morrison‘s songwriting and the power of his performance, channeling the genius of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson through these heartfelt songs. The obvious appeal to the opposite sex was never in doubt as the screams and wolf whistles echoed throughout the Concert Hall but one got the feeling that this affection arose from more than mere physical attraction but also the manner in which Morrison touched hearts (and other body parts) with his music.
Morrison and band brought the audience to their feet with highly danceable material viz. “Slave to the Music”, “Nothing Ever Hurt” and “I am a Man” and turned the Concert Hall into one big disco floor, even though – it must be said – the audience was visibly older than say, your typical teenage hipster crowd. Morrison made all the right moves, inviting audience participation at the appropriate moments and had the rapt crowd eating out of his hands. It was hard not to be swept away by the energy on display. By the end of show, with encores of “The Awakening” and “Wonderful World”, Morrison and band were wet from perspiration and the crowd was equally spent from the high excitement. Another memorable night at the Concert Hall for Singapore music lovers!
Thanks to Greenhorn Productions for making this review possible. Photos by Jonathan Kwa.