James Blunt had never played in the Hunter before his headlining slot at the final A Day of the Green event for 2018. But with the amount of love and adoration shown to this charming performer by the Bimbadgen Estate crowd, I’m sure his management will be keen to make sure Blunt heads back here to win-over the Hunter crowds again, during his next world tour.
With offerings from his latest album ‘The Afterlove’ to share with fans, this was the first time this born entertainer has played an outdoor, festival gig in Australia, with this A Day on the Green line-up now making it’s way around Australia, finishing up in Perth on March 20.
The high-energy performance and incredible musicianship of Blunt and his band were enhanced by a creative light show, which left the audience in no doubt that we were watching a real star, who is defined by more than his mega hits and ballads.
When you’re playing a festival line-up, it does help to have a hit that the crowd will know.
From event opener and The Voice Australia winner Karise Eden, who crooned her winner’s single ‘Stay With Me Baby’, through to 90’s indy-pop favourite Alex Lloyd’s, who included his Aussie number one song ‘Amazing’, to Busby Marou’s ‘Bidding My Time’, to the ‘Beautiful’ double-header, with ‘So Beautiful’ performed by Aussie surfer-pop icon Pete Murray, finishing up with the version of ‘You’re Beautiful’ that catapulted Blunt to international fame; this A Day on the Green was a catalogue of easy-listening hits and set the scene for a cruisey day in the autumn sun.
While the ‘real fans’ in the crowd, sang along with all the numbers on each artists’ set-list, the rest of the crowd were happy just to hear the mega-hits, and sing along in full voice. These moments of enthusiastic crowd participation made the day even more memorable, and a wonderful finale to the 2018 A Day on the Green season.
Event openers Karise Eden and Alex Lloyd played their sets unplugged and with simple musical accompaniment. Eden showcased her powerful and soulful voice, singing Jazz and Blues standards including ‘It’s A Man’s World’ and ‘Sitting on the Dock of the Bay’, to the accompaniment of an organ.
Alex Lloyd was a favourite on Triple J with his debut album Black the Sun but broke through to the attention of mainstream audiences with hits like ‘Green’ and ‘Amazing’. With only his guitar to accompany his melodic voice, Lloyd’s passionate version of Leonard Cohen’s iconic song ’Hallelujah’ caught the audience’s attention and hit everyone in the feels.
A small crowd gathered up-front for Busby Marou, who won over a few other punters with their catchy melodies, smooth harmonies and Aussie charm. Opening their set with their recent single ‘Got Your Back’ from their 2017 album ‘Postcards From the Shell House’, including a passionate cover of the INXS hit ‘Never Tear Us A Part’, and finishing up with their ARIA-award winning ‘Bidding my Time’, these boys from Rockhampton were highlights of the day.
Pete Murray is known for bringing the good times and being a charming entertainer. He lived up to that reputation at Bimbadgen, lifting the mood of the event, from chilled to amped. With a large crowed up-front and punters on their feet as far as you could see. Murray took the crowd on a journey through his hits, spanning his lengthy career, including ‘Bail Me Out’, ‘Better Days’, and ‘Imaginary Things’, ending with a sing-along with the whole crowd for ‘So Beautiful’.
As a follower of James Blunt on Twitter, I was anticipating a performer with a lot of personality, wit and humour. Blunt was all those things and so much more – he was dynamic, incredibly funny and charming, enigmatic, a talented musician, and was a treat to witness in his element – as the star!
Playing hits from his back catalogue including ‘Wise Men’, to the tear-jerking ‘Goodbye My Lover’ and ‘High’ from debut album ‘Back to Bedlam’ and ‘1973’ from the album ‘All The Lost Souls’, to numbers from his new album ‘Afterlove’ including the thought-provoking ‘Someone Singing Along’ to the song written with his mate Ed Shearin ’Make Me Better’, to his wedding song ‘Time Of Our Lives’. Blunt weaved his magic, and we were under his spell.
Blunt ended the magical evening taking a photo of the crowd to share with his millions of Twitter followers. He promised he would be back. I wasn’t a fan before, but now I’ll be waiting for his return.