The UK's premier jazz-pop singer-songwriter Jamie Cullum played Sony Ericsson Presents Q The Music Club Live at the Hard Rock Cafe. On May 27, it was an energetic performance and a diverse setlist ...
See the Jamie Cullum gig photos.
It was a properly packed Hard Rock Cafe by the time Jamie Cullum took to the stage, smiling and thanking the audience for coming out tonight, the same night as the Champions League Cup Final.
Being a Swindon Town fan he explained, these dilemmas were never likely to be a problem for him. It needn't have mattered either way really as launching into a cover of Rihanna's hit Please Don't Stop The Music seemed like a declaration of intent and set the tone for what was to follow.
New song So They Say was a treat for the audience, punctuated by trumpet blasts and some lively scatting all overseen by the life size Spitting Image puppet of Mick Jagger in the corner, his namesake would've approved.
Not sure if it was the room temperature or the subject matter of the next song that made it so hot but it was time for the shirt to come off (t-shirt still on) for Get Your Way, one of his older songs "about trying to get laid and failing".
Gran Torino was next. A song instigated by a phone call from Clint Eastwood partly re-enacted by Jamie in a gruff Clint baritone "Jamie, I want you to do a song for my movie" and as Jamie says "You don't turn down Clint Eastwood".
Instead he took the simple but succint melody line Clint provided, building verses and lyrics around it. Gran Torino is a poignant wistful ballad "engines hums and bitter dreams grow", "These streets of old they shine with the things I've known and breaks through the trees" conjuring down-but-not-out imagery of days going and having gone by. It's down-at-heels vibe turning it into something you could imagine Tom Waits covering and it's a credit to his songwriting for creating so much from a grain of an idea. A personal highlight which seemed to be shared by the audience.
Time for another cover, one more in keeping with Jamie's Jazz roots, the Cole Porter classic I Get A Kick Out of You, an effortless reading of a standard, shortened to two minutes thirty seconds for Dancing With The Stars, you feel the audience would have been more than happy with the full length version, given the cheers and applause it received.
From one classic to the next, showing his versatility again with another unexpected cover, a smoothed round the edges version of Jimi Hendrix' The Wind Cries Mary which moved the audience, in some cases literally as Jamie and two of his band jumped off the stage and fought through the lively throng to re-appear standing on the back bar for both trumpet and sax solos as well as some impromptu scatting/dancing in the audience on his way back.
The comforting refrain of Love Ain't Gonna Let You Down gave the audience time to recover. Anyone thinking they could predict the end of the gig was about to be proven wrong however, Jamie went into a lightly-jazzed version of Singing In The Rain, riffing vocally on the "da-da-da"'s" in between verses before reprising Rihanna and Umbrella then rounding off with a heartfelt take of his song I Love This, describing a time he was especially happy; playing sock football at 4am on a boat with his Grandad. His re-counting the story of the song made the peformance and dedication to his grandad all the more personal.
The night ended with a note perfect rendition of one of his most known songs These Are The Days and the audience loudly congratulating Jamie on a job well done. He in turn paid tribute to his tight band that had followed him fastidiously wherever he lead, in some cases literally as well as musically.
- Please Don't Stop the Music
- So They Say
- Get Your Way
- Gran Torino
- I Get a Kick
- The Wind Cries Mary
- Mind Trick
- Love Ain't Gonna Let You Down
- Rain Medley Singing In The Rain/Umbrella/I Love This
- These Are The Days
See the Jamie Cullum gig photos.
Our lucky competition winner won the opportunity to review the gig and interview the band. See below to see what they thought:
Any gig at the Hard Rock Cafe is set to be an intimate and special affair, but Jamie Cullum really raised the standards with a three piece band behind him, a mini grand piano and bags of energy. He opened his indecisive set with a cover of Rihanna’s ‘Don’t Stop The Music’, which later on was followed by another Rihanna song ‘Umbrella’ which most definitely challenges Biffy Clyro’s attempt at the song. An exclusive performance of a new song ‘Gran Torino’, and lively beat-boxing with two other members of his band standing on the bar truly captivated, a magnificent night.