Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
Graham Clark
Features Writer
9:00 AM 13th March 2020

Jamie Cullum Kicks Sparkles In York

Believe it or not, the first time I saw Jamie Cullum in 2003 the support act was a young female who went by the name of Amy Winehouse. The gig was at The Leadmill in Sheffield, before the concert we met up with Jamie and talked like old friends.

17 years on and he still talks to his audience like they are all friends although these days there are a lot more of them. The York concert at The Barbican was the second date of his UK tour and he and his band are eager and on a roll - and it showed.

As gigs go this one had an unexpected start: Jamie and his band stand in a single spotlight as they perform a spine tingling acapella version of Mankind, a track off his last album Taller. Note perfect you could almost hear a pin drop.

It is not long before they are in their regular positions for a rousing version of Taller before Get Your Way leads into a cover of The Killers, The Man. Within the opening 20 minutes Cullum and the band had gone from acapella to jazz to funk.

He explains to the audience that he went through a period of writers block, jokingly dedicating the first song he wrote afterwards to York - "this is something you all like to do in York" he cheekily says as the opening bars of the track Drink are heard.

He still plays the old covers such as Cole Porter's I Get A Kick Out of You and The Neptunes, Frontin'.

As he jokes about the problems of being 40 a female fan shouts out "it's not as bad as going through the menopause" - I bet he does not get that response when he plays the London Palladium later on in the tour.

He still does his walk through the audience but it seemed shorter than usual, probably because of the Coronavirus threat. His track The Age of Anxiety could not have been more apt.

If you fancy playing his £60,000 Grand Piano your luck might be in - there is a competition to write a song about the piano and the best song wins, with the piano going to a school or charity.

All At Sea benefitted from another acapella version which took the audience right back to the start of his career. Then it was party time, the fans are out of their seats as he and his accomplished band strap on some drums over their chests and invite everyone to the party.

You and Me Are Gone developed into one long jam which might have benefited from being curtailed somewhat. After a show of two halves and nearly 2 hours of music he was gone - along with his sparkling trousers, but tonight it was still Cullum who put the spark into a miserable wet and windy night in York.