After the release of his newest album ‘Higher Than Here’, James Morrison is currently touring all over the UK and Europe, including a gig at O2 Guildhall Southampton on the 17th March. The place seemed full to the brim with a wonderfully eclectic mixture of fans; male female, teenagers, middle aged people and everything in between.
His first live shows since 2011, Morrison played a mixture of old classics and new hits, satisfying both old fans and new. Opening the set with ‘Under The Influence’, Morrison strolled on stage, guitar in hand and began to sing in the soulful, gravelly voice he’s known for. The next song was, ‘Nothing Ever Hurt Like You’ from his album ‘The Awakening’ and got the audience clapping, dancing and singing the lyrics back at him.
Morrison admits it’s been a few years since his last gig in Southampton and seemed eager to make up for that fact. Personally, I really enjoyed ‘I Won’t Let You Go’, ‘Wonderful World’ and ‘Demons’, with the last being dedicated by James Morrison to “anyone with demons in their heads”. We even got to know the singer a little better as a person and his song writing techniques when he enlightened us as to how ‘Wonderful World’ was written. Morrison explained to the audience that when he was on a bus once, a man got on who was deemed a bit “weird” by the other passengers because he was deaf, whilst he thought he was probably someone who was just in need of a hug. And alas, ‘Wonderful World’ was written. It’s not surprise that the crowd ate this up and he was rewarded with a massive round of applause.
Morrison and his female back up singers really showcased their voices which complimented each other perfectly when they performed ‘Something Right’. The song is a song about love but to his daughter rather than a partner, who he says is to thank for him gaining confidence in himself and enabling him to start writing again.
Though I remember him being a lot more reserved when I originally saw him back home five years ago, Morrison seemed to be a lot more confident, outgoing and engaging with the audience more. Morrison explained that originally ‘Slave to The Music’ wasn’t going to remain on his album until he ‘saw’ Michael Jackson when he was in American and on some sort of hallucinogenic substance. Apparently the late singer told Morrison “sometimes people just want to dance” and so the track stayed on the album.
Another blast from the past, Morrison started singing one of his most well known songs ‘Broken Strings’. Originally released as a duet with Nelly Furtado, the audience gladly took place of the absent Ms Furtado singing her half of the duet with ease and enthusiasm.
Overall, Morrison certainly proved he should be welcomed back with open arms onto the music scene. After all, despite the music scene becoming overrun with one man and a guitar acts, he was the original and showed us why the template has become so popular.