Sheffield City Hall, 24 October 2019
There was more than an element of theatre about Will Young’s show as his Lexicon Tour came to Sheffield City Hall. He delivered drama, suspense and humour with along with a flawless vocal performance to give his legion of fans a thoroughly entertaining evening.
Ahead of Will’s appearance, Asher Knight opened the show with an excellent set despite a day of sipping lemon drinks to ward off a bad throat. “It’s great to be back here in Yorkshire, where I was born and bred,” said the 21-year old from Bradford, who is gaining a strong following.
His set included the recent singles Broken, I’ve Changed, Save Me from Myself and Why? together with a great cover of Life Is A Rollercoaster. For several numbers Asher was joined for a series of well-choreographed dance routines by the excellent Iara Raiane and Charlotte Anderson in striking pink and green tops. Asher closed his all-too-brief appearance with his latest release Step Back. a confident and polished set and we are sure to hear much more from Asher in the years to come.
During the interval, a large packing case was wheeled quietly and unceremoniously onto the stage…
and as the house lights went down the five-piece band, and two backing vocalists, opened with the up-tempo Love Revolution. One, then two hands punched, dramatically, through the front of the packing case and Will Young emerged singing. He had been on stage for almost ten minutes already! He later revealed he had broken wind, having had cabbage soup before a show in London, and had to spend around 15 minutes enveloped in the smell!
After four songs Will paused to amuse everyone with tales of his day and his ‘addiction’ to a next-door neighbour social media site, before his first big number number of the night. Light My Fire was possibly the song that showed Will to be a class above his rivals in the 2002 series of Pop Idol and his cover of Jose Feliciano’s arrangement of The Doors’ classic continues to be a show-stopper.
Suspense? “The decorators are in,” Will quipped as stage hands set up a plank, six feet above the stage, suspended between two large step-ladders. Gingerly, Will positioned himself in the centre of the plank for a mesmerising rendition of The Beatles’ Golden Slumbers, a wonderful tribute to the mark the fiftieth anniversary of The Fab Four’s Abbey Road album.
Will remained on the plank for one of his biggest hits Friday’s Child and the slightly surreal spectacle of Will, laying back on the plank, as a curtain of glitter fluttered down from the ceiling. “Another attempt by my manager to kill me, thwarted!” he laughed as he jumped to the floor.
Back on the ground Will announced “A medley of songs around the topic of love.” This began with his beautiful 2006 hit All Time Love coupled with two from the Friday’s Child album: Love Is A Matter of Distance and Stephen Stills’ Love The One You’re With. By now everyone was out of there seats and dancing along.
Will’s set covered music from across his whole career, the big singles together with a sprinkle of lesser-known gems. There was room for just two tracks from his latest Lexicon album, these being the lively Ground Running and the single My Love. After another segue of Losing Myself and Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill, time for Will to display his overt sense of humour.
He slipped away and discarded the black tee-shirt and ‘Simon Cowell’ trousers to return as ‘Captain Camp’, dressed in white, complete with cap and wearing a cardboard ship to sing Who Am I?. Surreal moment #2 came as he danced around, in his ship, singing Joy. Only Will Young could create this spectacle and, bless him, he is a national treasure for doing so!
Much of Will’s appeal, aside from his silky soft voice which always delivers effortlessly, is that his public have identified with him from his journey on Pop Idol all those years ago. He became the people’s star as the nation took the Youngster to their hearts, and there he remains.
The set continued in party mood with a string of hits; Your Game/Switch it On and Jealousy. before he closed with the signature song Leave Right Now. It was, indeed, time to leave but everyone went with a smile and great memories of an evening of first class entertainment.
Will Young setlist:
I Just Want A Lover
Light My Fire
All Time Love/Love Is A Matter Of Distance/Love The One You’re With
Losing Myself/Running Up That Hill
Who Am I?
Your Game/Love To Love You Baby/Switch It On
Leave Right Now