Anthony May

Review: Joe McElderry at the Customs House

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He won The X Factor. He won Pop Star To Opera Star. He even won The Jump (and that doesn’t even involve singing). And on Sunday night, former X Factor champ Joe McElderry won over the hometown crowd at the Customs House in South Shields as he kicked off The Evolution Tour.

Fresh off the tour opener on Saturday, the local lad wowed the audience by proving he can pretty much sing anything. He opened the show with a flashback to his X Factor audition, complete with a video of the then-18-year-old nervously singing for Cheryl and co. before performing the very song that won him a place on the show, Luther Vandross’ Dance With My Father.

Since this was the Evolution tour, the set list was made up of songs that have inspired Joe and included Somebody To Love by Queen, Whitney Houston’s I Look To You and, perhaps the most interesting choice and most touching part of the whole show, How We Love by Beth Nielsen Chapman. He closed his eyes throughout that last song and told the audience he’d never realised how sad it was. “I’m not sad though,” he told the crowd with a smile, raising a few laughs.

No genre was left untouched, warbling his way through his own songs The Climb and Wide Awake, current hits like Uptown Funk and his regular section, Jukebox Joe, where the singer took requests from the audience. Joe showed an impressive knack of singing on queue a melting pot of requests, from Careless Whisper to Big River. The audience even got a few bars of Tom Jones’ Delilah. Judging by these, you can tell what market Joe is catering for these days.

The theatre was packed out with old dears and mums with young kids, with the show at times feeling like you were watching a performer at a holiday camp, albeit one with a 24-karat voice.

Joe also performed a few classical numbers, a genre in which he has made quite an impression since winning the ITV singing competition Popstar To Opera Star and releasing his album Classic, which debuted at number two in the UK charts.

Time To Say Goodbye was simple and stunning and brought the house down, earning the singer a standing ovation. Old favourite Don’t Stop Believing and new track Hollywood, a soft rock tune with an incredibly catchy chorus, brought the show to an end, and he closed with single Ambitions.

With the news of another X Factor winner losing their record deal (2013 winner Sam Bailey recently announced she has parted ways with SyCo) this performance showed that severing ties with Mr. Cowell doesn’t need to be the end. It felt like the whole of his hometown had come out to support one of their own, and with more than 100 shows on this tour, this definitely is not the last you’ll see of the lad from South Shields.

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