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ROOKIE REVIEW: A night with James Morrison

Rookie Reviewer Jennifer Akroyd shares her thoughts on James Morrison’s sold out performance at Symphony Hall

On Monday evening James Morrison amazed a packed Symphony Hall with his fusion of singer-songwriter and pop.

Opening with his upbeat and dynamic song Under the Influence from his first album, Morrison showcased his unique vocal style with poise, power and presence.

The set that followed contrasted old and new and thus took the audience on a journey through his 10-year career as a musician. Notable highlights from his set included I Won’t Let You Go, which really emphasised the spectacular control he has over his falsetto, and a phenomenal stripped back version of Broken Strings. The audience were reminded of how far he has come as an artist as the concert came to a close with Higher Than Here, the title track from his most recent album.

What amazes me about his voice is how he is able to have such control over wide ranges yet still retain his signature tone and huskiness. Even switching between styles of music, his voice has fluidity: he was able to meet the demands of his more bluesy songs, such as Nothing Ever Hurt Like You, but equally have a rich tone in his more pop based songs, such as Demons.

The band as a whole were really tight. This was particularly evident in Wonderful World where the audience could see the band bouncing off each other to create a really slick and sophisticated sound. The harmonies sung by the two backing singers complemented Morrison exceedingly and were sung with great power and conviction. What I would have loved to see however, would have been some brass on stage. I feel this would have really taken the show to the next level and added a further dimension to the music.

A special mention to his support act, Kelvin Jones, who filled Symphony Hall with his soulful voice. His acoustic mash up of The Weeknd’s ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ and ‘Shine’ by Years & Years, was a particular highlight. It was also really lovely to hear the humorously-told stories behind his songs.

James Morrison took us on a journey which culminated in a standing ovation from all of Symphony Hall. His energy and vibrancy infected the audience and crafted an evening of sheer joy that I will remember for a long time to come.

Jenny Akroyd is in her first year studying Music at the University of Birmingham. She is a classical saxophonist and doubles on the clarinet and flute for pit work. As a keen composer, she takes lots of her influences from minimalism, film music and jazz.