REVIEW: James Arthur, O2 Academy, Newcastle

Former X factor winnerJames Arthur was part of the line-up at the Pitch Invasion festival in Hartlepool in 2012 , organised by charity Red Dreams.

Former X factor winnerJames Arthur was part of the line-up at the Pitch Invasion festival in Hartlepool in 2012 , organised by charity Red Dreams.

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James Arthur sent fans into a frenzy last night at Newcastle’s O2 Academy. The 29-year-old, Middlesbrough man kicked-started his set with Back From The Edge, which is also the title of his latest album.

For James it was the perfect place to start the show, as this particular song touches on his battle with substance abuse and depression in lyrics about drugs and demons. For this local lad, fans greeted this performance with a roar of applause.

James then went on to sing Prisoner, which showcased his rapping skills that we first saw back in his 2012 X Factor audition where he sung Tulisa’s Young.

From being dropped from Simon Cowell’s record label, Syco, in 2014 to having a number one single and being resigned, it seems that James is surprised and grateful at the recent reversal of his fortune. “I never thought I would be here tonight. I want to thank you all for supporting me,” which only sent crowds into screams of approval.

James then went on to perform his X Factor winners single, Impossible, followed by a mixture of songs from this latest album, Back From The Edge, including Safe Inside, Can I Be Him and Sober, as well as songs from his self-titled first album, such as Get Down,

Nobody Til Somebody Loves You and Recovery. He continued to impress the audience with his silk and sandpaper vocals when singing Clean Bandit’s number one single, Rockabye.

He admitted that is was Rockabye that knocked his single Say You Won’t Let Go from the number one chart position. “I didn’t expect to ever have another number one single, and when you have one, you never want to let it go.” However, he admitted that even he loves this song (Rockabye) and wanted to perform it especially.

Backed by his five-piece band, James ended his show with his multi-million selling number one single, Say You Won’t Let Go. During this song you almost couldn’t hear James singing over the crowds shouting the lyrics. Once the show came to an end, the audience begged for more by chanting and stomping their feet.

James’s story of personal and musical redemption is a compelling one, and it’s clear from last night’s performance that he has a flair for presenting real life problems in a catchy pop-rock manner.

James Arthur is back from the edge and his fans best get ready, as there’s plenty more to come.