James Blunt brought his British charm, impressive guitar and piano playing skills along with his distinctive silky voice to the riverside last night for night two of the Henley Festival on the floating stage.
Opening the show, James performed How It Feels to be Alive, Smoke Signals and then Wisemen that saw the audience quickly up on their feet.
Switching from guitar to piano for the first time James then played Champions. After this he spoke to the audience for the first time, “How are you doing Henley? Is this the poshest place I have ever played! There was no need to get dressed up for me. Gentlemen you can take off your ties and ladies you can take anything off you like! You’re posh tottie! We’ve waited 17 years to be here and everything else has just been practice until we got to you guys.”
The audience got to really sing on their own during James’ well-loved songs, Goodbye My Lover after which James tapped his heart and pointed at the audience. He then told the audience that next two songs were for his children and goddaughter, Ivy who was at the show – The Greatest and I Told You which got the audience clapping along.
After singing Carry You Home James said, “Leave your seats now for handbags and maybe you’ll stand for the rest of the show” (he wasn’t wrong). He then went on to sing Postcards, Stay the Night, Same Mistake, OK, So Long Jimmy and his biggest 2005 selling hit You’re Beautiful.
Before playing his new single (released this week) Love Under Pressure, he got the audience to turn on their phone torches, saying, “If you’re with someone with grey hair, show them how this works!”
Before the encore James said, “You’ve been amazing, drunk or both!” He then played 1973 after which he jumped up and stood on the top of the piano pretending to surf and ended the show on a high with Bonfire Heart. At the end James brought his goddaughter, Ivy on at the end to take a bow with the band.
Listening to James’ live voice, unlike some other artists, is the same as his recording one and he has an incredible vocal range that seems effortless. Thinking that the show would be full of slow love song ballads, we were really pleasantly surprised that James’ upbeat charisma and showmanship shined through for the Henley audience.
There’s so much to see and do at Henley Festival each evening. Top comedians Al Murray and the Lost Voice Guy from Britain’s Got Talent performed in the comedy salon last night.
Last night our Editor, Michaela enjoyed meeting James before the show. You can read the interview here. She also got her face beautifully painted with glittery flowers by Pixie from Nicole’s Body Art based in London who are at the Festival all week just beside the Grandstand.
Tonight will see Sophie Ellis-Bexter followed by Sarah Cox on the floating stage. There are still a few tickets left, you can book these via https://henley-festival.co.uk/whats-on/friday/