It’s not an easy thing to do, entertain at a huge venue like The O2, but Sam Smith did a great job tonight. For a start, he’s funny. “Welcome to ‘The Thrill of It All’ world tour. I’ve been living like a nun for the past five weeks and tonight’s my last time singing in London for a very long time. I’m going to sing my arse off for you guys – and then I’m going to go find me a bottle of wine!”
True, he doesn’t have the greatest of voices. His singing is good, but nowhere near the level of, say, Gregory Porter, who I was also privileged to see perform live recently – and you can’t always make out the lyrics. That said, Sam formed an immediate rapport with the audience – we were all on our feet, dancing and singing, from the very first song.
It’s ballads at which Sam Smith excels, of course – and he admitted as much to us, wryly: “I know my music can be a bit depressing, so I’ve been working with my team to make sure you all have a fantastic time tonight and go home with smiles on your faces.” And there were some great up tempo moments, including a cracking version of Luther Vandross’s ‘The Best Things in Life are Free’.
There’s no getting away from the fact that most of us were here for the slushy numbers – and Sam didn’t disappoint, treating us to heartfelt versions of ‘I’ve Told You Now’, ‘Love You Like I Can’ (particularly well-received) and ‘Way Too Good At Goodbyes’. There was hardly a dry eye in the house…and those emotions were compounded by ‘Stay with Me’, the song that turned him into an international star.
The tears really did flow when Sam introduced his Nashville co-writer and the lady who penned ‘Palace’: Cam. What a gorgeous voice and stage presence she has, and how blessed we are that she worked with Sam on his latest album.
“London, you’ve blown my mind!” stated Sam, shortly before he departed the stage for good – and do you know what, I believed him.