Friday, March 31, 2006

I Got a Kick Out of Him

Sure, the show took place at the Opera House, and sure Jamie Cullum is a contemporary jazz-pop singer, but the concert this young Brit gave Thursday night was anything but a subdued affair. The first indication was the fact that Cullum walked on-stage chugging a Full Throttle energy drink. After that, it was the music that did the talking. And sure, it took maybe three songs for Cullum to hit his stride, but once he launched into "Twentysomething," the two-hour-and-fifteen-minute show was on cruise control.

To single out specific songs as favorite moments would be pointless, although "What a Difference a Day Made," "Nothing I Do," "Frontin'," and "London Skies" were all great, as was a duet with opener Brandi Carlile on "Rocket Man." Cullum even did a fun medley of hip-hop songs (jazzed-up, of course) that included Ne-Yo's "So Sick" and Amerie's "1 Thing." Perhaps the one obvious omission was "Mind Trick," one of my favorite tracks off Cullum's current CD, Catching Tales. (You can hear it at his site on I also was disappointed he didn't play "My Yard." But the stomping on the piano keys was there, as was Cullum's ratty appearance, playful banter, and athleticism. And the Opera House's acoustics made it all sound great. This was my first time in the building, and man, what a great venue.

It's just a shame that so many people missed so much of the show. I don't know what was up with the crowd. Every other minute, it seemed, someone (or two people) would get up and go out for a drink, or to the bathroom, not even waiting for the end of a song or an opportune moment. It was the most restless audience I've seen in a long time. And given the show's location, the moving around was more pronounced — and annoying to those of us who were enjoying the show and didn't ever leave.

Jamie Cullum isn't a household name yet, and admittedly, his CDs — good as they are — really don't do justice to how great he is live. But I can't recommend him highly enough. He deserves repeated play on your CD player (or iPod) if he's not already programmed in.

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