Live Music + Gig Reviews

David Gray @ Earls Court, London

8 December 2002

David Gray

David Gray

A decidedly young-mature, cute coupley audience came out in force to see this singer-songwriter give great value for money with an extensive, full-bodied set. Fair-haired David Gray, with his trademark head wobble proving an initial spectacle, kicked off proceedings on a scruffy piano and his distinctive voice in fine form.

As he ploughed into new single The Other Side, the plush red velvet curtain lifted, and Gray’s four-piece band took flight with an explosion of noise and action. Then the man himself swapped piano for guitar for the no-nonsense set, which clocked in at well over two hours.

Gray’s strength is a wealth of good songs which are all quality pieces of music – but the quieter, lengthier numbers like Freedom and Kangaroo had me reaching for my slumber pillow.

This man is undoubtedly talented, but his drummer was more entertaining. Clad in a horrific Hawaiian shirt and toting luminescent drumsticks, this wiry, older man’s acrobatics were amusing, and his enthusiasm a spectacle. But with a camp-free cover of Soft Cell‘s Say Hello, Wave Goodbye, Gray managed to reclaim centre-stage.

Gray’s biggest hit Babylon got the scarily huge crowd vastly animated, singing and clapping in unison. Gray called a close to proceedings, but returned to his piano stool to perform a long acoustic reprise. The drummer turned tambourine-playing into a performance art at this stage. Wistful hit Sail Away proved a high point of the concert, and was fused with all the energy that such a vast venue requires to burst into life.

As the gig really did draw to a close, the curtains lifted once more, and the band joined in a rousing finale of Please Forgive Me – ending on a bizarre rave tip which momentarily had the crowd making embarrassing moves. Entertaining such a vast mob of people isn’t easy, but Gray was certainly up to the job. Stylish projections and atmospheric monochrome screenings of the action made Earls Court less bewildering. Get used to it – for this is one man who may have long outgrown smaller venues.

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