Olly Murs – Live Review – Scarborough Open Air Theatre
By Roger Crow, July 2017
From the minute Olly Murs walked on stage at The X Factor auditions a few years ago, it was clear the man had skills.
That’s back in the day when I watched Simon Cowell’s annual search for a Christmas number one/star of tomorrow. Not just the odd episode but every week, and as that series rolled on, the cheeky Essex singer with bags of talent proved he was a force to be reckoned with.
I have no memory of whether he won the show, but given the 7,000 screaming fans at Scarborough’s Open Air Theatre on a perfect summer’s night, it hardly matters.
First up is Heir, a likeable band of lads who were chosen from relative obscurity to support Murs, and they’re clearly thrilled by the opportunity. Obviously it’s hard to sing along when you don’t know any of the songs, but fair play to them for writing original material instead of just performing a bunch of cover versions. I like their nerd chic, and a lot of the crowd are soon bopping along.
“Performs with energy”
By the time Murs arrives on stage, the crowd goes wild. And in a year when the shadow of one horrific gig looms large over all family-centric concerts, it’s great to see viewers of all ages having such a good time. Not that some of Olly’s stage moves are U certificate; 12 or 15 cert maybe, but I’m guessing he grabs his crotch so many times because he wants to check his flies aren’t open. All that exhaustive dancing can probably test the strength of any zipper.
Though I was a fan of Olly from the outset, I’m obviously not the target audience. My partner Rachel has been a fan for some time, but when ‘Years and Years’ was released, it became my favourite song of the past 12 months.
I wonder where it will come in the set list, though standing through ‘You Don’t Know Love’, ‘Heart Skips A Beat’, ‘Dear Darlin’’, ‘Troublemaker’, ‘Dance With Me Tonight’ and ‘Stevie Knows/Superstition’ is far from an ordeal. While a 15 min medley of covers from years gone by ensure mums and dads who have gone along for the sake of the kids are treated to some great old numbers performed with the sort of a energy of a kid who’s had too many E numbers.
“The more mature numbers strike a chord”
Considering Murs has flown in from Ireland for the gig that day, I’m amazed by his stamina. He seems to have more energy than Mo Farah and Usain Bolt combined, working the stage like a seasoned pro. He’s obviously studied Robbie Williams’ moves, and for the duration has the audience eating out of the palm of his hand, while his backing band are superb.
He rounds off the show with a superb rendition of ‘Years and Years’, which leaves me very happy. As much as I enjoy the previous numbers, many of them being foot-tapping classics, it’s the more mature side of Murs’ work that strikes a chord, and offers a hint of what we can expect in future.
The Open Air Theatre is a terrific venue and unlike some gigs, the car park doesn’t take an age to empty out. (A couple of Yorkshire-based gigs this summer were marred by seemingly endless bus or traffic queues on the way home).
There are some venues I’d think twice about attending because of the transport nightmares, but I wouldn’t need much of an excuse to see any gig here again.
Given the Cheshire Cat grin of my other half, I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t either.
images: Cuffe and Taylor