★★★★ | James Blunt, Moon Landing Tour, Doncaster Racecourse

On a warm summer evening, Doncaster Racecourse presented the closing concert of James Blunt’s Moon Landing tour. Without the need for flashy pyrotechnics, elaborate sets or backing dancers James Blunt kept the crowd entertained for his 90 minute set with just his voice, his guitar and a four piece backing band.

Blunt rattled through some of his singles and a number of fan favourites from his four multi-million selling albums. He quite rightly concentrated on the more up-tempo songs with only a few of his slower songs nestled neatly between the upbeat numbers. Blunt casually chatted with the audience and encouraged them to join in with a number of the songs. The crowd absolutely relished in singing along to “You’re Beautiful”, “Carry You Home” and his closing numbers “Bonfire Heart” and “1973”. But there were very few songs where the audience couldn’t help singing along, mainly encouraged by Blunt, which led to the crowd feeling part of the experience as opposed to detached observers.

“High”, “Wisemen”, “Goodbye My Lover”, “Stay the Night”, “I’ll Be Your Man”, “Satellites” and “Same Mistake” were amongst some of the songs performed over the course of the show. Blunt defied the media persona that has been created around him by coming across as charismatic, enthusiastic and as someone who clearly loved every minute of being on stage. His band was fairly note perfect and the mixture of sound between the vocals and the instruments was perfectly balanced, meaning each instrument could be easily heard. The stage and lighting were functional, with a simple presentation enhanced only by a few projected backdrops. But, to be fair, the show was more about music than spectacular presentation and the straight forward staging served to allow focus on the musicians and song writing, rather than being style over substance.

It is unfortunate that James Blunt is really a victim of his own success. Having the biggest selling album of the last decade, selling 20 million singles and 17 million albums is no mean feat, but for some reason, the media and the public have seemed to taken a dislike to him. However that does not necessarily detract from the quality of his music, the surprisingly good live performer that he is and how much the huge crowd genuinely enjoyed the show.

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James Blunt was the final concert in Doncaster Racecourses Music Live events, which has also seen the Kaiser Chiefs playing earlier this year. Having never been to a concert with a dress code before, the whole day was incredibly enjoyable with 7 flat races presented over the course of the afternoon followed by the concert. There was the opportunity of being able to enjoy dressing up for the occasion, mixing with the smartly dressed crowd and enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of the day at the recently refurbished venue; even without any knowledge of horse racing or a desire to have a flutter.

James blunt is touring the UK later in the year and details can be found on his website at http://www.jamesblunt.com/home.htm?force=show

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Doncaster Racecourse hold a number of racing events throughout the year, the next one being on the 24th august to raise money for breast cancer charities. Details can be found at http://www.doncaster-racecourse.co.uk/

About the author: Paul Szabo
In between visits to the theatre, watching films, photography, walking, scuba diving and singing (badly); Paul writes for TheGayUK.