Having been hustled and bustled from one queue to the next outside the LG ARENA I arrived just in time to hear the last half of the heart wrenching Pixie Lott‘s opening rendition of ‘Mama Do’.
Taking my seat with the adorning screams of, what I assume was either A) 13 year old wannabe pop princesses or B) over aged men who were in need of a bit of lovin’, I was then wined and dined with her colossal performance of the debut hit ‘Cry Me Out’. The two man band (herself and a seated guitarist placed conveniently just outside of the spotlight) created such an atmosphere that I’m 100% positive I wasn’t the only one questioning whether it was too early to get out the lighters. Having happily shown off her voice which gives us all that warm fuzzy feeling (it can’t be denied), she then played for the audience a different but strangely enticing cover of ‘Be Young, Be Foolish, But Be Happy’ which was closely followed by Stevie Wonders‘ ‘Isn’t She Lovely’, which, if we are to go by the level of clapping, definitely seemed to be the case. The opening show was then closed with her new track ‘It’s all about tonight’.
Emeli Sande was the next to perform, and ‘being the new kid on the block, or should I say ‘the new money earning, uni dropout, with a good intention’ on the block it was unfortunate that not many could confidently sing along to her newly released singles ‘Daddy’s Girl’, ‘Next to Me’ and ‘Curtains Open’.
Although there was definitely no mistaking the echo of devoted fans whom contentedly sang along with the Scottish R&B and soul singer/songwriter. Yet, despite the slight tingle of disappointment which was mutating in the slums of our stomachs, all feelings of being disappointed were wiped away in one clean flick when she performed ‘Heaven’ with such velocity that she simply, and I apologise for being so clichÃ©, blew us away.
Tinchy Stryder, the third cog in the mechanics that was Birmingham Live 2011, rolled onto the stage with his hood up, sunglasses covering his face, diamante Tee at the ready; resonating what we can safely class as ‘his true gangsta’ style. He powerfully performed the ever popular track ‘I’ll never leave you’ that features Amelle, leaving the audience to sing the lines that needed that female touch. The response from the audience of 14,000 is great and as Tinchy rounds off his first song with a peace sign directed at the crazed crowd he demands ‘We deserve to go somewhere special now’, and with that he raises his hands in the air, and breaks into the single ‘Spaceship’. He then goes onto perform the tune ‘roller coaster’, which with the clever combination of his impressive vocals and the oggy oggy oggy chant, leaves the audience reeling from a crazed 10 minutes where the continuous jumping has left them in need of recovery. Yet there is no chance of even the possibility of a breather as Tinchy launches straight into his hit single ‘number 1’ where his demand to the audience of ‘LETS MAKE SOME NOISE’ is well and truly received.
I think it is safe to say that as Matt Cardle, 2010 x factor winner with two top ten singles, sauntered onto the stage each and every one of the audience wanted to give him a quick reassuring hug. Living up to his well deserved epithet of ‘Matt with the Hat’ he delivered a winner by opening the show with the soon-to-be-released “Pull me under” which, although being unknown utterly captivated the audience and certainly pulled them into a state of immersion. Before starting on his next song he intensifies the mood by expressing how personal this next song is to him, and only strengthens our belief in this when he appears ‘to take a moment’ before breaking out into a song which is so engrossing we all complacently sit and listen to the story being unraveled through the music. He then performs the well known ‘Run for your life’ and finishes his performance on a much more upbeat note with ‘Starlight’. The mood lifted to such an extent that Matt with the Hat even had the desire to tip his microphone at the end in an Elvis meets Bon Jovi type way.
Cher Lloyd, the X-Factor princess, rounds up the first half of the show with ultimate ease and style. She begins her set with the song ‘With Ur Love’, a track off of her new album ‘Sticks and Stones’, before moving onto ‘Beautiful People’ sung with only a guitar accompaniment. For the next two songs ‘Want You Back’ and ‘Swagger Jagger’ an army of dances cover the stage and only promote the party nature of the new album even more so. She flaunted her overwhelmingly strong stage presence at every possible opportunity, and using this to good effect her performance is fun filled and fits in with the lively theme of the night.
After the 20 minute interval, where the smooch cam captured the already excited audiences’ attention, James Morrison, guitar at the ready, took to the stage to crazed screams from fans of both the old, young, and middle aged variety. He bought our attention back to the stage, where he reignited the mellow mood with his performance of ‘Slave To The Music’. The smash hit ‘You Give Me Something’ was next to be played and his smooth and soulful sounds meant that this was, most possibly, the hit of the night. Having fully shown off his guitar playing skills, the instrument disappears and in its place a woman singer takes to the stage to help James successfully perform his new track ‘Up’, with her filling in the much needed spaces which Jessie J would normally perform.
The Wanted receive such a welcoming that with the feet stamping, the hands clapping and the people screaming, the fireworks that were let off on their arrival to the stage have little effect on the already crazed audience. Using their powerful stage presence they engage the audience even more so by playing the famous game of ‘What sides the loudest’. Having confirmed that the LG Arena is stable enough to withhold such physical momentum they break into the song that made them the pretty, popular boy band that they are. ‘All time Low’ goes down as well as band member Max George at the local ladies night would, and with such a gratifying start they then slide away from the crazed party mode, and settle into a gentle performance of their hit from comic relief ‘Gold forever’. This is then followed by the new hit ‘War Zone’ which is followed by the immensely popular ‘Lightning’ which brings us back into the party mood in no time. The final song ‘Glad you came’ absolutely blows the roof off with some fans even crying through what I can only assume is complete and utter adoration.
JLS, having the unbearably hard job of having to follow in The Wanted’s footsteps, still manage to compel the audience into a trance of crazed lust when they burst into the hit ‘Everybody in love’ on their arrival to the stage. This is closely followed by their ever popular tunes ‘eyes wide shut’ and ‘beat again’ where the JLS boys, and the JLS stamped, guaranteed tunes, work the crowd into a frenzied state.
It wasn’t only 13 year old girls screaming along to this lot as they put on the show of the night with the smooth moves and creamy voices. The night ends with the crowd and band alike singing a very enthusiastic ‘Happy Birthday’ to band member Oritese, but not before a final performance of ‘Do you feel what I feel’ with streaming confetti, fireworks, smoke and glitz ensure the ‘pop filled night’ leaves everyone with their fair share of the feel good factor.
Review – Constance Rawlins
Photos – Jordan Hughes