After a well received and interesting support act, Ferris and Sylvester, James Morrison took to the stage supported by a super slick band and the most superb backing singers.
Morrison’s got soul, lots of soul, and seeing such an accomplished performer in the acoustically supreme Birmingham Symphony Hall that accentuated every nuance of his distinctive voice - that he attributes to a near-fatal bout of whooping cough as a child - was very special indeed. Every note was captured to perfection at a pleasing and not deafening decibel level.
A diverse yet very appreciative audience were caught between luxuriating in Symphony hall’s comfortable seats imbibing the music, jumping to their feet dancing to the up tempo numbers or, as is all too often the case, peering at their mobile phone footage to record the event.
None though were disappointed with their Monday night entertainment.
Kicking off the set with Under The Influence, the crowd soon were indeed under his influence.
Born in Rugby, James Morrison was easy on stage, likeable, chatty, appreciative and very much at home with the Midlands audience, joking Rugby was so bad that as a child he came to Birmingham for a treat!
The set was filled with many highlights, including renditions of hits You Give Me Something, Broken Strings and I Won’t Let You Go.
According to Morrison, his music was influenced from an early age by the legends of Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding and Al green and that soul percolates throughout his performance.
Close your eyes, forget for a moment he’s onstage in front of you wearing a t-shirt and jeans and holding a guitar, and that’s the voice of a 60’s soul superstar performing in a smoke-filled club wearing a crisp cut suit.
That voice was then put in to full effect for James’ version of The Beatles classic With a Little Help From My Friends. A song that is probably best recognised by many for the coarse sandpaper voiced Joe Cocker version, this time delivered in a way that it is more refined yet retains that similar edge.
The tour now heads off to Bath but it won’t be too long before this artist visits his Midlands roots again and he is a artist well worth the effort seeing live.
Review and pictures by Dave Cox