REVIEW James Blunt at the Brighton Centre: One man's tribute to his 'beautiful and delicate' friend Carrie Fisher, Princess Leia in Star Wars

James Blunt has returned to the road on a world tour in support of his new album Who We Used To Be. His latest stop was the Brighton Centre.
The amazing James Blunt at The Brighton Centre on April 2, 2024.The amazing James Blunt at The Brighton Centre on April 2, 2024.
The amazing James Blunt at The Brighton Centre on April 2, 2024.

‘Where are you now?’ sang James Blunt. The answer was Brighton where a packed house was thrilled to welcome him back.

A new album released at the end of last year. A new tour. And to mark the occasion, Blunt was keen to show off his new jeans and new trainers. “But same old band,” he teased. “The thing is, once they work with me they can’t work with anyone else. No-one wants them.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

That was typical of his self-deprecating humour that followers on X will know so well. He might be Blunt by name but his wit is razor sharp.

James Blunt is a modest guy. He’d have you believe he only had one hit You’re Beautiful.

As Tuesday’s concert proved, this is nonsense. He is simply one of the most talented and enduring singer writers – confirmed as he performed one classic number after another, intermingled with songs from the latest album.

That new material includes Dark Thought, a song he had written in tribute to the late Carrie Fisher, who Blunt met in 2002, and who astonished him by immediately making the ‘absolutely crazy’ suggestion that he come and stay with her while he was in the city. The pair became incredibly close, if unlikely, friends: Blunt calls her his ‘American mother’.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

After she died in 2016, he tried to write about her, but nothing was worthy of “this great, great woman, this incredible mind, such a dear friend to me”. But during the writing of Who We Used To Be, he thought about his experience of visiting Fisher’s former home after her death. “And Dark Thought is just me describing the journey of going to say goodbye at her house.”

In Brighton he reflected on her Hollywood home. Three pianos including one in the bathroom where he recorded Goodbye My Lover. “And she had chandeliers in the trees in her garden and a Christmas tree up in her house 365 days a year. She was mad and beautiful and delicate and this is a song for her.”

Blunt is a loyal man – to his family, his friends and his fans who packed out Brighton.

So there were no surprises when he leapt into the auditorium and met as many as he could as though this was a massive speed dating session.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Push back the barriers” he encouraged later – as he urged people to come as close to the stage as possible.

As he energises them, so they reciprocate.

He might be 50 and the self-proclaimed master of the ‘miserable song’, but he fizzes with energy – at one moment leaping atop the piano, another owning the auditorium perched on a speaker – as though there is a whole firework display detonated within him. Perhaps he has a Bonfire Heart – the name of another blockbuster hit without which no encore would have been complete.

He admitted his favourite work is Same Mistake. Mine too.

As he closed the concert, Blunt cemented his friendship and affection with Brighton, where he had spent the day taking it all in. One huge photo looking out into the vast auditorium. And a pledge to come back next year – but at the weekend rather than a Tuesday. A well-deserved cheer for that.

Then a rather moving team bow with the band. Despite his opening comment, they only work with him because he is a class act, as are they. Let’s hope he makes it back in 12 months’ time. On a Saturday.

Related topics: