Published On: Mon, Apr 15th, 2024

James Blunt review: Comedy-tinged love music from an artist who knows his audience | Music | Entertainment

Whether they’re music fans or those actually in the music business, people love to hate James Blunt. It has become a bit of a USP for the 50-year-old singer-songwriter.

In response, the Wiltshire-born star has become astutely candid about being perceived as a joke, and it’s worked quite well for him – his self-deprecating wit has become a rather successful part of his marketing strategy, both on and off-stage.

He’s owned more people on Twitter than I’ve had hot dinners, cleverly managing to take down Noel Gallagher, Damon Albarn, and Paul Weller all in one go in the process – all while paying tribute to the late Keith Flint

Twenty years since the release of his breakout hit “You’re Beautiful” (and many viral tweets later) he’s packing out two nights at London’s Royal Albert Hall on April 9-10, 2024.

Blunt kicks off the set with the surprisingly dancey Beside You, which samples Ennio Morricone’s Alla Luce Del Giorno, taken from his new album Who We Used to Be.

Blunt then launches into the old favourite Wisemen, showing off his vocal skills before cracking into the other half of his act: Comedy. Blunt announces that he’ll be playing the rest of the new album in full, which is met with a lacklustre response from the crowd.

The singer responds: “Well, I’ve got your money now. The doors are locked!” before giving in – “Only joking, here’s another old one” and proceeds to play the 2007 hit Carry You Home.

It’s easy to forget how many hits Blunt has managed to release until you hear them all again, live, as he often jokes about being a one-hit wonder. In fact, he has a string of instantly recognisable tracks that flesh out the two-and-a-half-hour set quite comfortably.

In the middle of his radio-friendly tracklist, Blunt begins to tell a story about the late Carrie Fisher, to whom he was a close friend and even wrote Goodbye My Lover in her bathtub. He follows up by playing his heartfelt tribute to the Star Wars actress, Dark Thought, which he released last year, and it’s incredibly emotional.

Singing such raw lyrics as “You made me believe you were strong, I wish you had called me and told me that something was wrong, So goodbye to my best friend ever” must be difficult for Blunt, but he delivers them with clarity.

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