On 17th March at approximately 9.05pm, a Mr James Morrison took to the stage at the prestigious Guildhall in Southampton. He opened with a classic from his more than impressive repertoire, ‘Under the Influence’, off of his 2006 debut album Undiscovered, and the show that followed was a performance like no other.
Supported by British local Kelvin Jones – whose career skyrocketed back in 2014 after releasing a YouTube video of his own original song, ‘Call You Home’ – Morrison performed with ease and aided by a number of anecdotes about his impending journey to fatherhood, the evidence of his four year break from the industry was nowhere to be found.
He performed a number of tracks from his debut and second album, including ‘Wonderful World’, ‘Nothing Ever Hurt Like You’ and, albeit without the presence of Nelly Furtado, a still awe-inspiring version of their collaboration ‘Broken Strings’.
Morrison revealed throughout his performance that this tour was the chance to further explain some of the music he created in his younger days as a 21 year-old, saying that when he was first starting out he “didn’t talk a lot about his music”. Through this wave of personal reflection, he explained that the true meaning behind his hit single ‘Wonderful World’ was actually the story of a deaf man on a bus attempting to hug everyone. Who knew?
He then went on to satisfy the crowd with a few offerings from his latest album – and the title of the tour, Higher Than Here. Tracks included ‘Something Right’ – which he later revealed was about his transition from “the weird kid at school” to an actual father – and ‘Demons’, the first single to be released from the album.
The Southampton leg of Morrison’s tour was relatively autobiographical, and appeared much like an expose into the life of James Morrison as the audience were left feeling as if they knew him that much better, and as if the personal connection they had once felt to his music was at once exemplified. He performed all of his set with an intense amount of passion, charisma and an incredible amount of those husky vocals that act as a prerequisite for any James Morrison show. There was not a song that didn’t make the crowd go crazy, not a note that Morrison failed to hit and most importantly, not a single person that could resist singing along. All in all, a captivating performance and one not to be missed.