REVIEW: James Arthur – Spring of Culture – Bahrain Bay
Former British School of Bahrain pupil finally came home to the kingdom and received a warm and rapturous welcome from his adoring fans.
The Bahrain Bay stage overlooking the cool waters of the Arabian Gulf and the bright lights of Manama provided a superb setting for the show even though one young couple seemed determined to block my view by standing up when everyone-else was sat in their seats. Ironically, the only time they moved out the way and went for a walk was when the singer asked the entire audience to stand!
James will not find a more supportive crowd and he genuinely seemed pleased to be back, reminding the audience of his childhood on the island which was cruelly interrupted when his parents split up.
He never wanted to leave and he never dared dream he would one day return after life took a few nasty turns back in the north of England.
It provided a nice link to his massive hit too when he said: “Remember, nothing is impossible.” Delivered with true emotion, this was one of his best of the night and it’s clear why the single Impossible became the fastest-selling song released by an X Factor winner, topping the one million sales mark.
If only he could have kept up the same high standard throughout the show and that of his storming opening number Back from the Edge, echoing his ‘comeback kid’ fall, rise, fall and rise again - mirroring his life and career.
For some reason, he decided to throw in a few odd cover versions to the set, and had to rely on lyrics being placed on a music stand to make sure he got the words right.
James, please, that would never have been tolerated during the live performances of the TV talent show that first engineered your shot at fame. It’s embarrassing during a concert.
And, as for throwing in an Ed Sheeron ditty because ‘everyone loves Ed Sheeron’ was appalling. If we wanted to hear a session of karaoke we would have all headed to Wembley’s Lounge in Juffair.
If any of his old teachers were in the audience, I’m sure they would have written ‘could do better’ on his report card.
James had such a tight support band, with a brilliant keyboard player and bass guitarist standing out in particular, he’d have been better off knocking out a few instrumental numbers with them to get the place rocking.
But we were a forgiving crowd, you’re not going to knock one of your own – and he certainly was that, checking out some of his old haunts before the show, popping into the rugby club and even the local supermarket.
Ailsa Robson was with her teenage daughter Millie when she bumped into him in the store, and said: “Funniest moment in Bahrain ever! Just casually paying for shopping in Alosra and I get a ‘selfie’ with James Arthur. I was having a lovely little chat when he said: ‘you should come to the concert tonight’. Me: ‘I can’t, just so busy packing’. Ha! Just keeping it real - really nice guy though.”
He was a really nice guy. Even came back for an encore, unlike Rita Ora who walked off stage never to return after her short set on the same stage recently.
James Arthur threw in three more songs into the hat, leaving us all singing along to his wonderfully poetic smash Say You Won't Let Go.
Quite right, all was forgiven. Come back soon son, just drop the karaoke.
Live In Bahrain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMFNHpjyODs
Stanley Louis Szecowka
Editor/Journalist & Blogger, Restaurant & Motors Reviewer, FinTech Writer, Manager, Trainer.
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