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James Morrison at Shepherd’s Bush Empire live review

James Morrison gives a wonderful performance at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire.

James Morrison
Credit: Island Records

Can you believe that it has been nearly 10 years since James Morrison’s first single release – You Give Me Something? It was a worldwide hit that gave James a global platform. During his career, James has released some gems, including the likes of Wonderful World and the beautiful Broken Strings – a duet with Nelly Furtado. He has won a Brit Award and regularly sees his albums hit the Top 5 mark around the world. We have been a long-time fan of James’ raspy and soulful voice and having just released his latest album – Higher Than Here, it was our turn to see him performing live in London with his band at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire.

Entering the stage, James looked to have a more rock and roll style than what we were expecting and to what we’ve seen of him in the past – it was a very cool first impression and he was given a huge welcome. Under the Influence, Nothing Ever Hurt and Won’t Let You Go saw an energetic performance from James and his band, which set the tempo for the whole evening. The energy exuded was felt all around the Shepherd’s Bush Empire and the crowd lapped up every moment, with several ladies voices echoing ‘I love you James’ – which seemed to continue throughout the gig. The backing singers were full of soul and they completed James’ vocals with their huge talent.

Wonderful World, was as expected, just beautiful. Hearing James’ emotions through his words and vocal ability touched everyone. James’ confidence and the ability to entertain was really impressive. Not only a gifted musician, but he really has the ability to connect to the audience with his interactions between songs. His tale of having access to a free bar and getting rather intoxicated and envisioning the ghost of Michael Jackson coming up to him and telling him to write a song that sometimes people just want to dance to (rather than solely focus on the emotion) – before launching into Slave to the Music was just too funny and the crowd were in hysterics.

For Broken Strings, the band cleared the stage and focused on James singing an acoustic version with his guitar and it was a stunning moment. The lead single Demons, from his latest album sounds like it’s always been in James’ back-catalogue and it has his classic sound all over it – telling the audience not to let those inner voices when we over-think things to take over. Hearing James’ vocals live is really something special, full of beauty, soul and he means every word that he sings. Just Like a Child, You Give Me Something and Higher Than Here completed the encore. James Morrison is a really humble soul with a wonderful talent, we left the venue feeling energised, lifted and happy.

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