Tom Odell @ Wolverhampton Civic Hall – 9th February 2014


I must admit, when I agreed to review this gig, I’d not heard of Tom Odell, let alone be familiar with his music. A friend said to me “ooh he’s not your cuppa tea” but this gig had been sold out for some time so he couldn’t be that bad surely? I did then have a quick look online to see what to expect.

On arriving at the Civic, someone is already on stage, but due to a problem with the guest-list this set was entirely missed. It wasn’t just me; most of the photographers were also stood waiting for a pass.
Eventually, after showing of emails, forwarding emails and general discussion I was in, with a photo-pass thrown in for luck!

First surprise was that the stalls were standing; I was expecting a seated affair. The next support is Fryars, a four piece band who are worth further investigation. They end with “Cool Like Me” which is a really catchy song and my only criticism is that they only played for half-hour, I’d like to hear more from them.


The stage is cleared and a small upright piano is placed centre stage, and as the houselights go out the stage lights up, with curtains at the side, which when illuminated create a theatre stage effect, the band enter until finally Tom Odell shows, dazzling white shirt, crop of blond hair and a huge talent.

Opening with a snippet from ‘Long Way Down’ before ‘Hold Me’ in its entirety which is greeted with screams more so than applause, and given the large female audience the level of noise is louder than the band.

“This is my first time in this wonderful city, thanks for coming along on this cold Sunday evening”, and given the craft and skill of this young man it’s a decent bet that he’ll not play here again, as 3,000 capacity venues just won’t be big enough.
“Grow Old With Me” is dedicated “for all you lovers” and at one point even a male in the audience shouts out his love for Tom. Back of the stage in huge letters is ‘Tom Odell’ which he asks if we like the sign, he says he felt he had to spend some money for the tour to make it “a bit glam”.
We are told that he’s recently been in New York and half the next album is written, and then a new song “Three Day Silence” is played, “this is only the second time we’ve played this”. Further investigation suggests this song is called “Alex”, either way it’s clear that the debut album “Long Way Down” is no fluke or one-album wonder.

The band are introduced, before “Another Love”, supported note perfect by the female population of Wolverhampton, before he stands, waves and exits the stage.


The encore soon follows and everyone leaves satisfied. There’s great things ahead for Tom Odell, and next he’s off to support Billy Joel in America, and likely to steal a lot of the limelight. There’s also more Brits expected and hopefully later this year the new album and tour, but I suspect his success at that stage will see him playing the aircraft hangars in Birmingham rather than the intimate Civic Hall.

My only criticism is that yet again certain parts of the audience, having paid for a ticket, decide to stand and shout to each other throughout the set, and during the softer quieter moments this is a big distraction. It’d be wonderful to hear Tom with just an acoustic backing in somewhere like the Symphony Hall, where the audience are a bit more reserved and actually interested in hearing all the music.

So a huge talent, but my friend was right, he’s not really “my cuppa” but a very enjoyable night and you have to admire talent when you hear it.

Review by Glenn Raybone
Photos – John Mason

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