WORDS AND PHOTOS BY KIMBERLY JONES (permission from Music Nation)
With the 2015 Britain’s Got Talent star due to hit the stage at 9.30pm for the first show in his Only Human tour everyone flocked to the seats to get comfortable and the bar for some drinks.
Right on the dot, Alae (pronounced LA) arrived on stage to get the crowd warmed up with a smooth tune. I watched as the crowd edged closer and closer to the stage, arms reaching for significant others to sway together. Already there is a man on the dance floor that epitomises the saying “dance like no one is watching”. The beat that came from the stage easy to move to. It was humbling to see that local talent got to open for this intimate setting. With their new album, “Henry St, due to hit shelves in a matter of days, the band were very generous giving out 3 albums for the most enthusiastic members of the crowd. With lead singer Alex saying he felt like a primary school teacher he told the crowd to lower their hands & then gave the 3rd & final album to the first hand in the air. One song melded into another reminding me of Jamie Cullum with his smooth jazz sound.
With the opening set completed, there was an audible sigh from the crowd as the air con was finally turned on. We all watched on as the stage was transformed after Alae to have a single mic out the front with keys, drums, electric guitars & bass surrounding where Calum was sure to stand soon. Blue lights kept the mood relaxed, however, with every movement on stage the anticipation of the crowd was almost palpable.
Hitting stage shortly after 9.30pm, Calum Scott appeared wearing a simple but alluring all black get up with his shirt held together by a single button. Getting straight down to business, Come Back Home was the first of what turned into an impeccably emotional show. Calum made his way around the stage early on to make eye contact & acknowledge as many of the crowd as he could.
I watched his Britain’s Got Talent audition earlier yesterday, research is important you see, and already with this first song I could see how much Calum has grown. Oozing confidence, an amazing smile and vocals that were absolutely pitch perfect. Throughout the evening, he told us a couple of stories including saying that he would just keep singing as we would soon find out that he could “talk forever”.
Continuing to ramp up the night, Rhythm Inside was next with the crowd already starting to sing along. Calum said, “this is an amazing feeling having my own fans in front of me. This is surreal”. It was clear that the star was humbled by the amount of people that had come out to see him. I imagine it would be quite a difference having so many screaming and whistling out to him for his own work rather than being a support act singing for other artist’s fans.
You Are The Reason was introduced to us all by saying this was a love song for not just romance but for friends, for pets for all the different types of love out there. We all sung so loud at times we drowned out Calum himself.
“You sang amazing! Honestly, my face is killing me from smiling. I have never heard my song sung back at me that loud before thank you”
Of course, in good New Zealand fashion a toy sheep was thrown on stage for him although Calum said he thought he was having vegetables thrown at him which had the audience respond with a huge laugh.
Calum had set aside a few songs to bring his vocals to the fore by stripping back to acoustic guitar. Including Not Dart Yet, a Bob Dylan cover where Calum said he wanted to take us back to the beginning as he can’t play any instruments. With vocals like his, however, I don’t think it would be fair if he could play instruments as well. Being able to hear every single velvety note delivered with grace and passion like that is a talent few have these days.
Introducing some keys into the acoustic set, Hotel Room saw an audience member yell to Calum to take his shirt off! The star, however was nonplussed and kept brilliant composure to round out the end of the song even with the crowd going crazy every time the music fell for dramatic effect. Only to ask at the end of the song, “what was said?”, to which many more joined in, Calum laughed and said they had impeccable timing as that was a very poignant part to the song!
For anyone that knows Calum and his story, his soon to be new single, No Matter What will lay bare when he went through as a teen struggling with his own emotions and then compounded with the views of society. While Calum is now “Gay and Proud”, for years the star struggled and for me, No Matter What, is a song that every parent should play for their child. Speaking of unconditional love and how much that means to a child when they need their parents the most. It was clear this was still a very personal song to Calum with every word sung with such emotion. I saw plenty of eyes welling in the crowd from where I was standing as Calum finished the song he got the loudest round of applause I think I have heard in my life.
“My first concert in Auckland and you broke me”
For all those, including myself, that haven’t yet got their hands on Calum’s album, there is a Special Edition being released 30 November that has Sight For My Sore Eyes on it. This song Calum wrote for his sister Jade for all her support and shows the gratitude he has toward her.
Teasing the crowd, Calum announces Give Me Something may be his last song then laughs at the crowd’s reaction. He told us all that it’s “all theatrical, we know what’s gonna happen”.
Chants of “Calum, Calum” bring the band back on stage for the encore If Our Love Is Wrong with Calum getting the audiences help with a round of the chorus.
Of course, it wouldn’t have been right if we had left without Calum’s most recognised song, Dancing in the dark. The most anticipated song of the evening ended with a rousing round of applause. Calum thanked us all & ended the night saying he would be the most grateful Yorkshireman you’ll ever meet.
I will always remember the passion and shear emotion on Calum’s face as he obliterated all expectations and wowed us all, belting out the final bars of Dancing On My Own. Not only for the talent that was on stage but the fact that I enjoyed it with my own eyes and not through a screen a few inches above heads.
True to his word, I don’t know if I could ever meet a more grateful and humble person let alone Yorkshireman. For anyone wondering if he did take his shirt off in the end…. You should have bought tickets