On Saturday night at the Fillmore, a bearded, T-shirt wearing man wandered through the audience. Who knows how long he had been standing in the crowd? Unassuming and a bit understated, no one really took notice until the band took the stage without a lead singer, and a spotlight landed on him.
English born singer-songwriter James Blunt took the stage by walking through the crowd, shaking hands and doling out high-fives before leaping over the front barrier and pulling himself up to join his bandmates. Blunt seemed energized and commented how excited he was to play a venue with a standing room crowd. “Perhaps I can do a little stage diving? Maybe a crowd surf?” And believe it or not, the man who is generally known for a slow-ish, stripped down, version of pop music with hits like “You’re Beautiful” and “Goodbye My Lover,” somehow found an opportunity to do just that.
Blunt gives off the impression of a rocker who can’t seem to write a rock song. He can write hits, but nothing you can really move to. Well, vertically anyway. His stop in Denver was in promotion of his new album, “Some Kind of Trouble,” released in November of last year. With the new album, Blunt has tried to add songs to his set that
are uptempo and and more guitar-driven, but they all seem to come off as early ’80s “finger snappin'” pop songs that steal beats from Daryl Hall & John Oates’ 1982 masterpiece, “Maneater.”
Try as he might, the audience didn’t seem to mind wading through these feeble attempts on new songs “Superstar,” “Turn Me On” and “Dangerous” for a chance to get to the songs they came to hear. Blunt didn’t disappoint. He delivered heartfelt and emotional versions of what were the highlights of the show in “Goodbye My Lover,” “Same Mistake” and of course, “You’re Beautiful.”
Evan Semón is a Denver freelance writer and photographer and regular contributor to Reverb. See more of his work.
Lara Wenzel is a Denver photographer and a regular contributor to Reverb.