On the second night of his UK tour promoting the new album You’re Stronger Than You Know, James Morrison bedazzled Bexhill with songs new and old to rapturous applause.
In what felt like a full house at the DLWP, the stage management team cannily put Morrison on a firm footing from the start of this gig.
The lights dropped, the iconic bass-line of Spencer Davis Group’s Gimme Some Lovin’ thundered over the PA, the lights dropped as the anticipation and excitement went up a notch. A confident band and backing vocalists struck up Under The Influence and by the time Morrison walked out to a huge cheer, you felt it wouldn’t be long before we were.
It was a raucous and feel-good opener and Morrison capitalised by gaining the crowd’s trust early on.
Straight in to a new track Feels Like The First Time which has a stripped-back 60s Stax feel to it, and then Power which was inspired by his long-term partner.
By the time Morrison got to the first “hello, how are you?” the crowd was in his pocket and now a chance for him to test their conviction.
“I want you to sing your heart out on this one, it doesn’t matter who’s next to you,” they cheered and powered through the emotional I Won’t Let You Go.
It was a like a hotly contested Grand slam rally with Morrison serving hard and the crowd replying with top-spin, which only enthused the front-man to reply with more zing as he held the microphone, eyes closed and sang for all his worth.
Morrison holds nothing back, and it’s truly authentic, and that’s the sweet spot; the audience sense it and they’re willing to let go too.
Morrison talked before the tour about how this album had allowed him to return to what he knows best: him, the trusted band and songs written in his own style, and you could tell he was enjoying every moment.
He set things up for the crowd to sing on Broken Strings and once he’d handed over to the crowd to sing the chorus he was stunned by their repost.
Talking of the crowd, Morrison attracts a wide age-range which plays testament to the fact that he’s now remained successful for over a decade since the release of his debut album undiscovered.
This is a well orchestrated performance from start to finish, the musicianship is tight and the lighting is classy. He blends old and new songs to good effect and builds towards the end with the classic You Give Me Something and finishes with Wonderful World. At some stage you imagine Morrison may have to explore different musical genres, but for now he can feel content in his reaffirmation as a successful pop soul artist in a highly contested market. By Stuart Large.