I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going into the concert. While I enjoy James Blunt‘s music thoroughly, I’ve never quite pinpointed what his target audience is, perhaps lack of interest in looking for that audience on my part, but I found myself surprised – and impressed – upon entering the Danforth Music Hall on April 29th, 2014. There were people of various ages milling about at the all-ages event and they looked excited.
They had every reason to be, I found, moments later. James Blunt’s opening act was Oh Honey, a band coined by NYC duo Mitchy Collins and Danni Bouchard. I’ve had them on my radar for a few months now and they absolutely delivered. I found myself constantly checking the audience like a nervous parent hoping their children are succeeding in wowing the masses – and continuing with the parent analogy, they absolutely made me proud. They played the songs from their (too short!!!!) EP and then some before wrapping up their set with what is probably their most recognizable song, “Be Okay.” It was fun, happy, and everything necessary for a successful and perfect opening act.
Danni Bouchard taking the lead. Mitchy Collins in the background.
When the lights went down a second time, the crowd had definitely grown and the excitement seemed to have quadrupled. One-by-one, the band members went on stage, each to raucous applause – although I’m unsure as to whether the audience assumed incorrectly that each one was James Blunt and continued screaming nonetheless. There was a certain charm to their outfits – which were jumpsuits – and James Blunt only enhanced said charm by running on stage in a jumpsuit of his own emblazoned with the Union Jack. He immediately went to his piano and jammed away, starting with “Face the Sun.” The age differences in the audience didn’t stop anybody from immediately singing along right from the get-go. It was beautiful.
He was quite the joker throughout the night, cracking little unrepeatable jokes ranging from the ahem bedroom to people in France (“Je suis désolé,” he chirped). The audience ate all this up between songs and it was clear that the energy didn’t wane at all as the night continued. The setlist progressed and in recognition of his own songwriting, he prefaced “Blue on Blue” with “here’s another miserable song, hope you enjoy it.” Yet, not a sad tear was shed – perhaps one or two due to excessive feels, but nobody was feeling particularly miserable that night.
During his encore, Blunt performed 3 songs including “Bonfire Heart.”
Almost the entirety of his setlist were songs taken from his album Moon Landing which released in October of 2013, in support of his synonymous Moon Landing Tour. He did deviate from the album in order to bring back some fan favourites: the now-decade-old classics “Goodbye My Lover” and the always flawless “You’re Beautiful.” These songs served as a reminder of his relevancy and constant talent because there was not a single moment during the night where he faltered or stopped for a breather. From the fun clap-along beat of “Heart to Heart” to the let’s-gently-sway mood of “Face the Sun,” the concert was perfect in every aspect. Nothing too simplistic, yet nothing too flashy. Just right. (He did crowd surf…but just once!)
(All photos by Theresa Shim)