Midway through James Blunt's concert on Sunday night, he asked the audience to sing along to a song which “you all should know”. But it was not the song we were expecting.
“It’s not You’re Beautiful. I’m not playing that tonight. I’ve already got all your money anyway!” he teased with a laugh.
Although that is without doubt his most famous song, in truth, Blunt probably didn’t really need to sing You’re Beautiful to make his show at the Dewan Wawasan Convention and Exhibition Centre memorable.
After all, the 44-year-old British singer-songwriter has released four other albums since his 2004 best-selling debut Back To Bedlam, and though he is still best known for THAT song, it’s credit to his songwriting prowess that it was not even the most memorable one he played during the show.
No, that title actually goes to two of his newer songs from 2017’s The Afterlove – the tender, romantic Time Of Our Lives (written about his wedding day) was one of the concert’s most poignant moments, and the foot-tapping Someone Sing Along, about a certain President of the United States.
The latter yielded one of the show’s biggest laughs when Blunt told a story about how he never mentioned who the song is about when playing in the US, before imploring us not to tell any American friends who the song is about, otherwise “I won’t be able to play there again!”.
This was a great example of what a showman Blunt is. In between serenading us with an 18-song setlist comprising songs from all his five albums, his engaging banter kept things lighthearted and really endeared him to the crowd.
Blunt’s effusive chatter gave the impression of an artiste who is comfortable in his own skin, and who is not afraid of laughing at himself. Bringing up his recent tour of the US once more, he added sheepishly that he wasn’t there for a solo tour.
“I haven’t been totally honest with you, I was the support act, to a guy called Ed Sheeran. So I was his groupie!” he quipped.
All the banter in the world wouldn’t make a great show without great music, and thankfully, Blunt has that covered as well.
From catchy tunes like Heart To Heart, 1973, and Bartender to romantic lighter – or rather, handphone-in-the-air – moments like Same Mistake and Make Me Better, his songs were strong enough to captivate you even if you were unfamiliar with most of them.
His vocal delivery was crisp as daylight, ensuring that you could pick out every single lyric he sang, and conveyed the story and emotions of each song perfectly. On the plaintive Goodbye My Lover, for instance, you could practically hear the heartache and pain in his voice as he sang each verse.
By the time he finished the show with OK (his recent hit with Robin Shultz) and a three-song encore, Blunt had proven once and for all to those inside the hall that he is far from a one-hit wonder, and that there is more to him than just You’re Beautiful.
Oh, and speaking of that song... of course he sang it eventually. And, yes, it was beautiful.