Review: James Blunt at Utilita Arena Newcastle

Review: James Blunt at Utilita Arena Newcastle

James Blunt’s “Who We Used to Be” tour arrived in Newcastle and  marked  an ambitious return to the live music scene, captivating audiences across various venues already with his distinctive voice and heartfelt performances.

This tour, supporting his latest album “Who We Used to Be,” showcased Blunt’s evolution as an artist, mixing his classic hits with new tracks that explore themes of change and reminiscence.

The Utilita Arena, with its spacious interior allowed for acoustics to fill the air was full of fans whose anticipation was palpable. The arena, known for hosting significant events, provided the perfect backdrop for Blunt’s performance, enabling him to create a compelling atmosphere that was both intimate and inclusive.

This was the first time I had the chance to see Blunt live and for a man who many see as an artist they love to hate and only plays sad songs I found him to be quite the opposite. Blunt too is aware of his reputation and plays up to it. This ex army officer was more well spoken than i imagined but has a sense of humour like anyone you will know. Joking that he has our money now and the doors are locked, he doesn’t care if we like the show or not.

Very quickly he got us up from our seats at the very start and had us up standing, singing and clapping as he kicked off the night with Beside You and Saving a Life before one my my Blunt favourites Wisemen. He then proceeded to tell us to have a break for when he entered into some of his more mellow songs.

Blunt’s choice of songs for the evening was a deliberate blend of old favourites and new melodies, creating a narrative that spanned his entire career. Classics like “You’re Beautiful” and “1973” were met with enthusiastic sing-alongs, a testament to their lasting impact on his audience. These songs, interwoven with anecdotes from Blunt, turned the concert into a nostalgic journey for many.

The newer tracks from his album “Who We Used to Be,” such as “Monsters” and “Cold,” highlighted his recent artistic explorations. “Monsters,” in particular, is a poignant song about his father, demonstrating Blunt’s skill in tackling deeply personal subjects with sincerity and depth. The performance of these songs resonated with the audience, illustrating Blunt’s growth as a songwriter and performer.

The concert’s emotional high point was undoubtedly during the performance of Dark Thought, of which was in dedication to the late Carrie Fisher. Blunt tells us how they used to hang out and that he wrote ‘Your Beautiful’ from the luxury of her bathtub.

James Blunt’s performance at the Newcastle Utilita Arena was more than just a musical event; it was a celebration of his career’s milestones and a showcase of his evolution as an artist.

I felt like I came to know him better. An engaging personality, ensured that the audience left with a lasting impression of a night filled with emotion, nostalgia, and celebration. The concert not only highlighted his hits but also his newer songs, confirming his place as a still very current member of the music scene and not just a one hit wonder. (Of which hits he has many of!).

Reviewed by Aaron Whittington

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