I was lucky enough to attend Sam Smith’s concert in Birmingham on Tuesday 3rd April curtesy of Alex as my belated Christmas gift. It’s no secret that I absolutely love Sam Smith and his music but I thought I would write a little overview of the concert and our trip for anyone that missed out on getting tickets or wants an honest account of the night.
The concert was at the Genting Arena in Birmingham which was surprisingly accessible and easy to reach. We got the train from Hereford to Birmingham New Street and then changed for a ten minute link to Birmingham International Station from which the arena is a five minute walk. We were staying at a hotel overnight that is opposite Birmingham airport as they were more affordable and this was a great decision. From the station you can get free monorail transport to the airport that takes less than five minutes!
The arena doors opened at 6pm and we were seating in block 5 seats V 140-141 which were great! The support act Bruno Major started his set at 7:45pm. Bruno Major is a British singer-song writer who combines R&B with alternative sounds to create soulful and romantic vibes. He sang a number of songs from his album ‘A Song for Every Moon’ and I have to say he was one of my favourite supporting acts I’ve heard – definitely a strong start to the show.
Then came the main man himself, Sam Smith, who made his way onto the stage at 8:45pm. I don’t have many photographs or videos from the evening as Sam respectively had a message appear on the over head screens about not using them, but did invite us to get them out a key points throughout the night. There are some videos from these moments over on my instagram, which you can check out for yourself here.
He opened with ‘Burning’ from his latest album which is one of my faves and got an amazing reaction from the crowd. His voice sounds incredible live and exactly the same as his records – so effortless with an outstanding range. The rest of his set was as follows;
- One Last Song
- I’m Not The Only One
- Lay Me Down
- I Sing Because I’m Happy (The Georgia Mass Choir cover)
- Omen (Disclosure cover)
- I’ve Told You Now
- Writing’s on the Wall
- Money on my Mind
- Like I Can
- Baby, You Make Me Crazy
- Say It First
- Midnight Train
- Too Good at Goodbyes
20. Palace 21. Stay With Me 22. Pray
Overall, I really liked the setlist but for me personally it was a shame that ‘No Peace’ and ‘Not In That Way’ weren’t in there someone but that was made up for by the absolutely stunning arrangement of Palace as part of the encore. Sam had one of his backing vocalists sing in harmony with him as a duet and it was 100% the highlight of the night – especially for a harmony buff like myself.
I also loved the way he arranged his show, he made a joke himself saying “I know my music is f****** depressing, but I’m going to try and make this fun for you all” and he definitely succeeded. There was a good balance between ballads, more upbeat numbers and arrangements that included audience call and repeat. However, although I didn’t find this personally, it could be said that a few of his numbers were too middle of the road pace wise for an arena setting.
I think ‘I Sing Because I’m Happy’ was lost on most of the audience but I for one absolutely adore this song and have done for years. I took great joy in grabbing Alex’s hand and beaming when he and his backing vocalists started that one. That’s one thing I really enjoyed seeing from his show, he took the time to introduce every member of his band and backing team, giving them each a hug, you could genuinely see how close he was with them which was really refreshing.
Another nice touch was the addition rainbow lighting after the song ‘HIM’ in acknowledgement and support of the LGBT community. During the song Sam spoke about being a proud homosexual man and hoped that everyone in the crowd can be proud of who they are too.
One thing Alex and I both noticed during the night was how loud the audience were singing along. I’ve been to a lot of gigs and I think this one probably had the loudest audience participation both when encouraged by Sam and off their own bat.
I had an absolutely amazing night that I will remember for a really long time thanks to Alex. If you’re attending any of the remaining dates on his tour I hope you have an amazing time too!