REVIEW: James Morrison, Newcastle City Hall
James Morrison left fans on a high after his energetic performance at Newcastle's City Hall on Friday.
The 30-year-old singer and songwriter, who is touring his fourth album Higher Than Here, continues to sell-out shows a decade on from his debut album - a true testament to his raw talent and passionate performances.
You can't really appreciate his studio music fully until you've heard him perform it live.
I first discovered James when he supported Corinne Bailey Rae in Leeds in 2005.
Back then it was just him and his acoustic guitar that managed to silence a full capacity crowd as he played an original self-penned love song Better Man.
The heartfelt song's soulful lyrics and his hair-raising gravelly vocals struck a chord with me and I have followed his career ever since just like the many adoring fans who had turned out to see his Newcastle show.
Catching up with the down-to-earth singer from Derby during his sound-check James said: "I'm so happy to be back in Newcastle, it's been a while.
"I've never played the City Hall before so I'm excited for this and I always feel so welcome here. It's great to be back."
And he's back better than ever with a fantastic live band and two gospel singers.
James was welcomed with a roar of cheers as he took to the stage with a beaming smile on his face.
Kicking off the show with Under the Influence, a lively track from his first album Undiscovered, set the bar for the night.
New uplifting songs including Demons, Something Right, Stay Right Here and his latest single I Need You Tonight all sounded incredibly fresh.
It was clear to see James was enjoying the show as much as his fans were, and he stopped to confess: "I've never felt this good on stage in a long time, so thank you Newcastle."
Crowd-pleasing hit Wonderful World ensured a huge singalong, and, an acoustic version of Broken Strings stripped the singer back to basics showcasing his raspy vocals beautifully.
Hit single, You Give Me Something, was the song everyone had been waiting for and it raised the roof during the encore which ended with a soulful delivery of Higher Than Here.
The gospel-infused tune had everyone on their feet clapping along in appreciation for the humble singer, making the place feel more like a place of worship than a concert.
Here's to another decade of music and memorable live performances from the lovable James Morrison.
Support came from rising star Kelvin Jones, whose witty banter and guitar-based ballads were well received.
The 20 year-old singer-songwriter from Stevenage, had enjoyed an afternoon of busking in Newcastle's city centre before taking to the City Hall's stage for his first North East performance. His debut album is due out at the end of the month - and I think he's one to watch.