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JAMES ARTHUR + ELLA HENDERSON | LIVE REVIEW

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RE: James Arthur Artwork - REVISED

JAMES ARTHUR + ELLA HENDERSON | LIVE REVIEW

4stars

 

Motorpoint Arena Cardiff, Thurs 24 Nov

For a guy who very nearly flushed his career down the toilet with a few ill-advised tweets, James Arthur continues his rise back up the ladder with a near-sell-out show at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff. The X Factor winner returns to Cardiff, just eight months after playing the smaller St David’s Hall and once again they’ve turned out in droves to see him in action.

Opening for James tonight is Ella Henderson, one of the contestants he knocked out of the ninth series.  Obviously feeling terrible about that, Mr Arthur has done the decent thing and offered her a support slot. What a gent. After coming sixth in the show, Ella was snapped up by Simon Cowell’s record label anyway – it seems that to get a record contract with Cowell you have to come first or sixth in X Factor.

Henderson does a stellar job in warming the crowd up, showing off her piano chops as she belts out the hits including Glitterball and her UK number one Ghost as well as a decent cover of Drake’s Too Good. Good enough to command a headline act slot, Ella won’t be supporting anybody much longer.

More than a few screams welcome Middlesbrough’s favourite son James to the Cardiff stage as he launches into the almost apologetic Back From The Edge. It’s nice to see him accompanied by a full band, albeit hidden amongst a set of old TVs and arcade machines. The number one hit and biggest winners single in the show’s history, his cover of Shontelle’s Impossible, is greeted like an old friend, before Sermon gets people singing in the aisles.

We are treated to a cascade of red ticker-tape confetti falling from the Motorpoint roof during Roses, Cowell clearly taking the cheaper option there. A brief interlude allows for some refreshment before Arthur returns with a quite beautiful rendition of Naked. It’s songs like this that really showcase the man’s talent: he has been bouncing between guitar and piano all set, but his best weapon is clearly his voice. This is once again showcased with a stripped-down cover of George Michael’s Careless Whisper, which the crowd happily sing along with. Safe Inside is dedicated to his little sister (awww) and You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You, the opening track from his self-titled debut album, is warmly received before Henderson is wheeled back out for Let’s Go Home Together.

An awesome laser show ups the ante for first encore Sun Comes Up before he rounds off the night with Say You Won’t Let Go. There’s no denying it, the man has a voice to die for and he’s a multi-instrumentalist to boot: James Arthur can be the complete package.

words CHRIS ANDREWS

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