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Brilliant Will Young in a happy place as he thrills his fans

REVIEW: Will Young at Birmingham's Symphony Hall

Will Young is marking 20 years in the music industry
Will Young is marking 20 years in the music industry

Twenty years on from his triumph on Pop Idol, and after a tough few years personally, Will Young is clearly enjoying life.

This was a celebration of the remarkable career of Young the singer, the actor, the mental health campaigner. The singer pointed out that he had also recently adopted two abandoned pitbulls as he jokingly listed his credentials for an MBE (he insisted he would refuse it if offered).

The Symphony Hall lapped up what was essentially a simple show. No fancy light show, not even an encore. Just 90 minutes stuffed full of big hits and plenty of happy banter with an audience that, literally, ranged from nine to 90 year-olds.

Young admits that he has in the past slightly resented his first hit Evergeen as it represents a Pop Idol experience that he has always been keen to move on from.

But, after brief a skit on his famous spat with Simon Cowell, he made it his opening number.

The song was the starting point for a remarkable career in which Young has amassed a catalogue to be proud of. His perfect soulful tones have a natural melancholy that suit ballads like Who am I and Leave Right Now, yet he also got the Symphony Hall on its feet with the pumping Love Revolution and old favourites like his Doors cover Light My Fire.

There were serious moments. Young mentioned the tragic death of his brother and spoke of seeing more homeless people on the streets of Birmingham than in previous visits. But mostly this was a joyous celebration of one of Britain’s great musical craftsmen.

Finally, a mention to Young’s support act Kris James who, like the headline act, is lucky enough to possess a natural effortlessness as he provided a taste of his catchy but sophisticated pop. The singer songwriter from Liverpool, fresh from supporting Anastacia, enjoyed a positive reception from the Birmingham audience, ending the set with his new single Home.

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