Sunday Sun Review of Jamie’s Newcastle City Hall Gig

THIS legendary venue was packed with people ready to witness the eccentricity and raw passion that comes with each one of Jamie Cullum’s performances.

Support act, quirky pop songstress Eliza Doolittle, kicked off proceedings.

Warming up the crowd with sassy beats and seductive lyrics, Eliza played some tracks from her EP, including Rollerblades, Money Box as well as her two singles Skinny Genes and Pack Up, which were all met with great enthusiasm from the Tyneside audience.

Before leaving the stage, Doolittle gave the fans a taste of what was to come, by declaring: “I’ve been watching Jamie every night so far, and every night there’s been a surprise.”

Opening his set with a cover of Rihanna’s Don’t Stop The Music, the jazz genius had the crowd in the palm of his hand, breaking up the song with a glitzy piano solo, which was the first point of the show at which Cullum showcased his talent as a pianist, not just a vocalist.

The star treated fans to a wide range of cover songs throughout the set, including his popular cover of Cole Porter’s I Get a Kick Out of You, jazz standard, What a Difference A Day Made as well as more contemporary offerings, such as a poignant reinvention of Not While I’m Around from musical Sweeney Todd and Frontin’ by rapper Pharrell.

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His own song Pointless Nostalgic presented itself with a beautiful sadness, reminding fans that Cullum is an unquestionably talented musician.

Photograph, a highly personal offering from the 2005 album Catching Tales, and the song Twentysomething showcased his wit as a lyricist as he admitted: “This is a song about people who studied for years and years and didn’t know what they wanted to do when they entered the real world.”

Cullum’s good sense of humour and playful nature was continuous throughout the show as he bantered with the crowd and broke up his songs with singalongs and solos, enticing the crowd into his every move. This mischievous behaviour came to a climax at the end.

The penultimate song of the set saw Cullum and his band exit the stage and walk down into the stalls. Climbing up onto a chair and finding his stage he launched into an intimate, jazzed-up version of Justin Timberlake’s Cry Me a River – right in the midst of his fans.

Jamie Cullum is a musician who evidently has true passion for all he does and who throws himself into it head first. He has a loyal fan base, not only in the UK, but worldwide, and fans on Tyneside were rewarded with a two-hour set filled with enjoyment – DEBRA FOX

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