REVIEW: Joe McElderry – Millennium Forum, Derry
On the 16th March 2015, Joe McElderry graced the city of Derry to perform an acoustic show as part of his Evolution tour – and my, has he certainly evolved!
Despite only being the young age of 23, Joe has progressed from boy crooner to gentlemanly showstopper. Joe proved at his dazzling show that he is not just a reality TV star; with the voice and face of an angel, he has managed to create his own success.
Joe performed to a crowd of around 100 people, from the tender age of 12 to the mighty age of 90, it is clear to see that Joe is able to please all ages with his upbeat tracks and also his astounding operatic feats. The range of song genres highlighted Joe’s versatility as a singer, he can sing softly like an angelic choir boy, yet when required, he can hit high notes like a veteran vocalist. The intimate setting, coupled with the simplicity of the stage set-up, the concert allowed for the focus to be entirely on the music. The absence of backing tracks and a large band pulled the crowd’s entire attention towards Joe’s impeccable singing.
McElderry, accompanied by his pianist and guitarist played a set of 14 songs, whilst also incorporating an engaging crowd pleaser entitled, “Joe’s Jukebox“, whereby members of the audience were able to request songs for Joe and his band to play, again focusing on his versatility as an artist. Numbers by the likes of Beyonce, Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars were performed for the audience and everyone in the room was overwhelmed by how beautifully Joe could sing without the help of any backing music and also, the amount of energy he incorporated to the upbeat songs. The cute crooner even sang “Happy Birthday” to an adoring fan, which I’m most definitely sure made her night. Joe most certainly knows how to please a crowd, with his encompassing nature, wit, charm and mega-watt smile, he won over the concert hall and had everyone engaged the entire time.
Joe began his concert with the song his career started with, “Dance With My Father“. Honestly, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room. The heart-wrenching lyrics, paired with Joe’s stunning vocals, created a beautiful opening to a wonderful show. Next up was a song Joe admitted that when he first performed it, he was overwhelmed by how big the track was and how large the vocal range across it was. However, “Somebody To Love” was sang with ease and displayed how much Joe has grown and how far he has come as a vocalist since starting his career. The X-Factor Winner’s Single, “The Climb” created a ‘lighters in the air’ moment amongst the crowd as they used the torches on their phone to sway along to the ballad. The performance was moving and reminiscent of the journey Joe has had and the amazing career he has paved for himself over the years.
“Love Of My Life“, from his Here’s What I Believe album was performed in a stunning, yet simple way, totally stripped back to solely showcase Joe’s beautiful voice and the sweet, tinkling sound of piano. Another highly notable song of the concert is that of, “Time To Say Goodbye“. The performance of said song, was grandiose and gripping throughout, Joe gave it his absolute all, showing his mesmerising and powerful operatic side. Certainly not a one-trick-pony! Joe then performed a rambunctious rendition of one of his favourite songs, “Englishman In New York”. The jazzy-like music and Joe’s lively strutting across the stage, seemed to transmit the audience to a West End Show as the performance was very much like it was in a musical.
Nearing the end of the show, Joe entertained his fans with 3 of his own songs, “Hollywood“, “Wide Awake” and “Ambitions“, which left the crowd on a high. The devotees sang along religiously and even stood up for the final song and performed the infectious dance routine! It appears Joe has quite the following!
All in all, the quaint yet rowdy audience, demonstrated that Joe doesn’t require a large crowd to give his all in his performances. With his powerful and potent vocals and his charismatic ways, Joe left a lasting impact on his fans, excited for his return to Derry. Alannah Houston, GiggingNI.com