Review: Olly Murs at Utilita Arena Newcastle
Olly Murs – Utilita Arena 22nd April
Now I have followed Olly Murs from his X Factor days and it is scary to think that was 14 years ago, so when I was invited along to see him in concert, I jumped at the chance and I am so glad I did. Not only do I like him, so does my 12yr old daughter so it was a nice concert to share. I have watched Olly grow through the years and enjoyed seeing him on our screens presenting but was unaware that the reason we hadn’t seen him on stage for 4 years was because of trouble with his knees. But now, he is back and he is back with a bang. With Newcastle only being the second night of his 2023 Marry Me Tour.
On arrival at the Utilita Arena, it was very busy and the queues were long to get in but they moved pretty fast. There was once upon a time where there would be a surge into the arena but now with added security checks, it takes a bit longer to get in, but rightly so, taking my daughter to a concert makes it a lot less stressful to me knowing that these checks are carried out.
We entered the arena and it was extremely busy, with queues at every bar, kiosk and merchandise stand. I was reminded that gigs aren’t cheap anymore looking around at the price of merchandise and food. A t shirt costing £35.00 and 8 chicken nuggets and some chips costing £9.30. I think it might show the last time I was here though, and know that it’s pretty standard pricing for arenas nowadays. So for the cost conscious, this is a polite warning to be prepared financially if you wish to purchase any merchandise. They do have t shirts, lanyards and programmes on sale which are a great memento. I especially loved how literal fans have taken the tour, turning up with veils and “marry me” headbands on.
After grabbing some food and a drink, we headed to our seats, as had a lot of other people already and awaited Olly’s supporting act to start. The atmosphere was already building as classic, nostalgic tunes were played through the speakers, including “Ready to Rumble” which had the whole arena roaring.
By the time “Scouting for Girls” came on, most of the seats were already filled and with a fanfare and spotlights spinning around the arena, they landed on the stage and set the arena alight. I have loved Scouting for Girls for a long time so seeing them live was amazing. They played a set of 7 upbeat songs from their past albums including the iconic “She’s So Lovely” which they closed their set off with. There was a moment when Roy Stride, who is a brilliant frontman, started to sing “The Lion Sleeps tonight” and the whole crowd erupted. I have to mention the electric guitar solo from Nick which was fantastic and truly electrifying. The talent of the whole band is phenomenal. The crowd were definitely warmed up after this performance.
Now onto Olly… his act started dot on time (8:45pm) and the atmosphere in the arena was just spectacular. Everyone was screaming and cheering and when the light went onto him and he was standing in a white suit in an “alter” you knew what song was coming. Kicking off his tour with the catchy and title of his tour “Marry Me” and ending the song with the throwing of the bouquet into the audience. I wish I had caught it!
The fantastic live band, consisting of a keyboard player, a drummer, 3 trumpeters, a bassist and an electric guitar play and two backing singers are all dressed in wedding attire too, including flower button holes.
Olly talks a lot about his upcoming wedding in the summer, which received a mixed reaction of cheers and boos from the crowd, resulting in Olly stating “I was single for a long time, you had your chance” with a cheeky grin and giggle, and it is clear to see just how in love he is and how excited he is to marry his beautiful wife to be, who features in the background of one of his songs on the big screen with clever interactions from the camera crew, blending Olly live with the pre-recorded video. The stage had 2 large interactive screens with beautiful floral arrangements hanging down his set with simple light changes changing to suit the song. Simple yet effective. Each song ended with the stage being blacked out other than a spotlight on Olly which just showed his silhouette, and this looked fantastic.
Olly’s energy and the way he moves is something else, how he can sing and move like he does, I will never know. He didn’t stop moving the whole night, putting on an amazing show and was definitely born to perform. With some sexy dance moves, snake hips and booty shaking included. He has a clear bond with his band and especially his backing singers who both had just as much energy as him and supporting him brilliantly.
He gave us a sneak peek of a feature that didn’t get released and it was a great collaboration, you will have to see the show to see who it is.
Olly performed 17 songs with some classic, crowd pleasing melodies in there. From new to old, covering all genres. I looked around the arena and I seen an 8yr old little girl with her Mam and was sat next to a 60yr old lady, Olly Murs is diverse and has fans of all ages.
I seen a different side to him at the show, you always see the cheeky side on TV but there was a moment where the direction changed and he talked about his good friend Caroline Flack and had a moment that was so genuine and true, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. He dedicated a song to her and sung “Sweet Caroline”, Neil Diamond’s cover, and I cried like a baby, looking at Olly and the emotion on his face and the moment he choked up and the crowd got him through it was the highlight of my night. It was so raw and true.
Following this moment, there was a costume change and he went from all white to all black and came on and picked the mood right back up with the ultimate party set. The melodies blended in perfectly, starting with Celebration which blended into YMCA, have you ever seen 11000 people doing the YMCA, me either until now, epic! This went into Blame it on the Boogie, Don’t Stop Believing, Sex on Fire, I want it that way and ending with Dancing on The Ceiling. Now that is the melody I have wanted to hear at an arena and my arms are hurting from dancing and throat is hurting from singing but it was absolutely brilliant.
The penultimate song had to be “Dance with Me Tonight” and the whole crowd went wild following with cheers for an encore when Olly dropped down the back of the set.
Of course in true sportsmanship, Olly came back on for a final song and ripped the roof of the arena with the classic “Troublemaker”.
A high energy concert with fantastic dance moves from an amazing performer. I absolutely loved this tour and Olly certainly knows how to put on a show. I met a group of Irish lads in the interval who had been backstage with Olly and they couldn’t say anything nicer about how much of a genuine guy Olly was and that definitely came across at this concert.
He is touring until August so don’t miss out on your chances to see him live.
Show Start: 7:35pm
Interval: 8:15pm -8:45pm
Show Ends: 10:15pm
Olly Set List:
1. Marry Me/ I’m Still Standing
2. Best Night Of Your Life
3. You Don’t Know Love
4. Kiss Me/Watermelon Sugar
5. Right Place Right Time
6. I Found Her
7. Thinking Of Me
8. Sweet Caroline (Neil Diamond Cover)
9. Dear Darlin’
10. I Hate You When You’re Drunk
11. Heart Skips a Beat
12. We Found Love
13. Wrapped Up
14. Dancing on Cars
15. Celebration/YMCA/Blame it on the Boogie/Don’t Stop Believing/Sex on Fire/ I Want It That Way/Dancing On The Ceiling
16. Dance With Me Tonight
Review by Vicky Abrahamson
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