Leeds First Direct Arena ★★★★✩
IF YOU bound on to the stage to the strains of Oasis’ Don’t Look Back In Anger — and an arena crowd bawl the chorus as if it’s the end, not the start, of the night — you’d better be pretty confident of he quality of your own songs.
But then, this is George Ezra, newly crowned best British male at the Brits.
Staying At Tamara’s was the best selling new album of last year, Shotgun surely the sound of last summer. Not bad for a 25-year-old who admitted to doubts when single Don’t Matter Now bombed in 2017.
As if to prove a point, Don’t Matter Now was the very first song of this impressive set, the folky pop bolstered by parping, Mark Ronson-esque brass.
Ezra looked clean cut in sensible slacks, while the backdrop, all standard lamps and pot plants, made it seem as if he was playing in his mum’s conservatory.
But his charm and huge hits cut through any feeling that he is a little strait-laced.
Hold My Girl would have been magical even without thousands of fans hugging each other. And Blame It On Me had him concentrating hard not to get too caught up in the revelry himself.
‘I enjoyed that a lot,’ he said after Paradise thrilled the crowd once more. Not exactly a rock’n’roll remark, but so did everyone else.