Jamie Cullum at the Olympia Theatre – Review

jamie-cullumJamie Cullum at The Olympia Theatre

October 14th 2013

Blue lights and smoke surround the impressive set of instruments awaiting the arrival of Jamie Cullum onstage at The Olympia. It’s the first night of his “ Momentum” tour. Cullum bounces onstage. A sprightly young chap with a cute impish grin and a mischievous look in his eyes. He’s exactly the type you’d want your daughter to bring home. Except for the fact that he is married to Sophie Dahl.

Cullum opens with “The Same Things” from his current album. Upbeat, drum based with a faint flavour of jazz. His smooth vocals thread perfectly through the eclectic arrangements giving a very radio friendly energy that will reach out far beyond traditional jazz fans. His overall set here has quite a few hidden diamonds. One in particular “Pure Imagination“ from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. His Galaxy smooth vocals melt over this beautiful piano arrangement. Other surprises of the night included “Don’t Stop The Music” by Rhianna. Still infusing it with his own adorable style and structure he sure knows how to quirk it up. Extended piano inserts and double bass layer up finishing with mildly chaotic piano run at the end. Cole Porter’s “Just One Of Those Things“ is a firm favourite from Jamie’s 2009 album “The Pursuit”.

Chirpy with his wit and comments, Jamie engaged the crowd sighting Dublin as one of his favourite places to perform. Playfully teasing the posh people in the boxes he recalls a Cliff Richard concert he attended with his mother. Mortified to be there and hiding in his hoodie, Cliff announced his presence in the house, instructing the spotlight to land supremely on the asbo looking Cullum.

He introduced a track called “When I Get Famous“. A ”fictional tale“ of a school boy who couldn’t get the girls so he decided to learn the piano to impress them. It’s infectious. Halfway into the set he is dancing in the aisles, crooning to the very receptive ladies, jumping off his piano and urging us all to get on our feet and sing it back.

His band members are multi tasking throughout the set. I spy Tom and Rory playing keyboards and drums and adding glockenspiel at the same time. They flit from trumpet to sax, electric guitar to chimes. There’s a percussion party going on here. Layering depth and a defined, different modern edge.

Clearly most of the attendees are seasoned Cullum fans. Vigorous shoulder shaking and serious nodding in seats hints at their enthusiasm. I was expecting a typically long winded, supersized, over stuffed piano and saxophone recital. Cullum and his band are none of those things. They delivered an eclectic, sexy, rocked up and poppy performance that shatters that old jazzy beardy cliché. For all the professional jazz appreciators who enjoyed this gig I apologise for my philistine knowledge. Take comfort in the fact that Cullum’s magic has converted this disbeliever!

Review by Ciara Sheahan


Lucy Ivan

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