Review: Jessie J, Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground, Chester-le-Street
I Don’t like cricket ... but I love music – and it was the latter which drew me to Durham County Cricket Club for the first time.
Jessie J, she who plucks hits from a pick ‘n’ mix of musical styles, was the headline act on the second night of Summer Nights Live – the venue’s drive to stamp its mark on the touring concert circuit.
The last few large-scale gigs I’ve attended have been at the Stadium of Light, but this had a much more chilled vibe with chirpy stewards and a family-friendly atmosphere – though, granted, 15,000 gig-goers must be easier to manage than 50,000
In the shadow of Lumley Castle, families settled down to picnics on the pitch and excited kids cart-wheeled across the grass as they waited for their pop idol to perform.
And, perform she did.
A striking sight with her shaved head, black leotard, ghetto fabulous earrings that would put Pat Butcher to shame, and harlequin print stockings, Jessie put in a fast-paced and friendly turn.
This was my first time seeing The Voice coach live and I can’t confess to owning any of her records, but she’s been such a permanent fixture in the charts of late that I knew most of the words anyway.
She opened with infectious ditty Price Tag and Who’s Laughing Now from debut album Who You Are, which spawned six top 10 hits.
It wasn’t her self-penned tracks which showed off Miss J’s impressive vocal range. That was left up to songs made famous by Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey.
She may have a huge voice, but, rather refreshingly, the pop star didn’t seem to have any of the diva tendencies that often accompany it.
With her broad, beaming smile and affable personality, she interacted with the crowd more than most.
She seemed genuinely humbled as she spoke about a young girl she’d met before the star bounded on stage that night. “There are so many people who fight every day for things we could never imagine going through,” she said with wobbly voice.
Some of her other interludes – including a pep talk about acne as a prelude to Nobody’s Perfect – were verging on saccharine, but I’d rather that than pop stars who, despite the young age of their fan base, put in overtly-sexual performances.
With pop and R’n’B tracks belted out to full effect, Jessie turned her hand to rap and dance.
Wild, her new single with Dizzee Rascal and Laserlight, featuring David Guetta, were, in my opinion, the concert’s most entertaining and vibrant tracks.
The rest of the crowd seemed to be in agreement as they jumped along to the beat in a sea of appreciation.