Unexpected (a concert review)

I distinctly remember the first time I saw the video of “You’re beautiful”. Quiet, gripping; a sad-faced guy with an almost ridiculously soft voice (who sang about some angel he had seen on the subway, but she was with another man, and now he was mourning the loss of her) undressing in the snow, arranging his things before him with military precision (confirmed later by the fact that he used to serve in the army), and finally jumping into the freezing cold water. What the… I just about bawled my eyes out seeing the video, dammit… It was love at first hearing. “Back to Bedlam” is one of my favourite albums of all time, and James’ second one, “All the lost souls” hit a chord with my soul, too. What can I say: I’ve been a James Blunt fan since the first single, I drove my folks crazy listening to the darn album over and over and over again, but I didn’t mind, I needed to hear those sad, sad songs coming from a guy who may have been gay, or not, I didn’t give a hoot, because he sounded like an angel.

I had bought my concert ticket for the Budapest show months before, and quite honestly, almost forgot about the whole thing. I knew it was approaching but the myriads of things on my mind kept me busy, and there was no sense of anticipation or expectation in me whatsoever. Even on Saturday, meeting a few people hours before the show, I told them I was so not into the mood for a quiet acoustic Blunt concert, not at the thought of standing through it… I was cursing the organizers for even thinking of selling standing tickets for- for this, this plaintive, introspective and soulful music, an almost spiritual experience, and cursing myself for not getting sitting tickets for a fraction more costly price. Judging from previous live footage, I had a vision of James Blunt and his guitar, singing his soul out, the audience bawling at his feet. I was literally falling asleep at the thought, despite loving the guy’s music.

Now, the minute James came on stage, it was obvious I had a completely false image in my head. An obsolete one. The James Blunt who was here on Saturday was upbeat, lively, almost with the attitude of a rocker. Dressed in elegant pants and shirt and tie, with sneakers nevertheless. *giggle* No beard, longish tussled hair, instant crush… But I don’t want to give the impression that I drooled throughout the show. There was no time for drooling, as Jimmy filled the arena with his unique voice and his band, bless their souls, rocked the house to pieces. A repertoire of old and new songs, a fantastic rendition of Slade’s “Cuz I love you” (from “Velvet Goldmine”- I had no idea- favourite movie- I just about DIED!!!!), an incredibly HOT song, hopefully to be released, with the title of “Turn me on” or something like that, well, there was no need for any encouragement, the audience, 75% girls, was probably just as wet as I was, old beauties like “Goodbye my lover” sang at a piano in the centre of the audience where Jimmy ran just to keep company to those sitting, “You’re beautiful” SCREAMED at the top of our lungs, word by word in a frenzy of emotion (I lost it there), some crazy jumping on the stage, off the stage, and back to the stage, and wicked balancing ON the top of his piano (grinning at the frightened moan we gave), all the songs we love so much played with vivacity and soul, and finally, “1973” as a grandiose, explosive ending with laser lights and disco lights and a perfect club atmosphere. Wow, James.

Little moments like when he was singing, “Yes, she caught my eye as we walked on by, she could see from my face that I was…” and stopped, allowing us to choose between the censored or the real lyrics, and we of course yelled “FUCKING HIGH”… or when, upon leaving the stage after the encores, he took out his camera to take a photo of us and it broke, and he said “fuck it, I’ll take one next time” (audience going CRAZY)… or when some huge green beam from above surrounded him and at the end of the song, he stepped back and his hair, his whole figure bathed in a surreal green light for a few moments- OMG. And I forgot to say that he said hello in Hungarian, which probably won over even the most adamant anti-Blunt troopers, possible chaperons to wives, girlfriends, gay boyfriends- he was a doll. Which statement doesn’t do him justice. I saw a fair amount of men, standing, sitting, and from Youtube comments it’s obvious there was a large variety of people there. Even tattooed, pierced, made up emos. He attracts many layers of society, it is time his enemies faced the fact…

WOW, James.

I had no idea. I did not expect. I suffer from a severe post-concert depression. It’s not fair you’re playing in Vienna tonight and I’m not there… It was a show I’ll never forget. THANK YOU!!!