Review: James Arthur, Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle

James Arthur put on an emotional performance at the Metro Radio Arena.
James Arthur put on an emotional performance at the Metro Radio Arena.

Of the many X Factor production-line pop prodigies, James Arthur seemed to be the exception to the rule.

First he had talent, which was a good start. He was a musician in his own right. He had charisma, a gritty background, an endearing personality and was a rebel.

The public loved him because he went against everything The X Factor mould represented.

After a make-over, he boomed into the spotlight and immediately crash-landed, for after various Twitter spats and outbursts he was promptly dropped by Simon Cowell's record label.

Like many X-Factor hopefuls before him, we thought that would be the end - but come back he did, against all the odds.

After wrestling with his demons and an undoubted case of too much too soon, his poignantly album Back From The Edge was a huge success.

But an arena tour.....was that going to be too much? On last night's evidence, absolutely not.

From the start it was a striking, emotional performance which continued throughout.

The setlist swung from his first album, with songs including Recovery, Get Down and the resounding hit Impossible - to the latest one, which gave us Sober, Safe Inside and Back From The Edge.

A single-song appearance from other X Factor prodigy Ella Henderson, who was the support act, also delighted the crowd.

Guitar solos and a stunning piano version of Careless Whisper as a tribute to George Michael had the crowd eating out of his hand.

He finished his performance with his hit Say You Won't Let Go, dutifully sung back by the Arthur faithful as they carried out the obligatory mobile-phone light wave.

You have to say no one went home disappointed and I have to agree. The lad from the Boro pulled it off. Great performance, great night.