Brighton audiences were given a concert fit for a - future - king when James Blunt’s tour landed in the city on Friday (November 24).
Earlier in the evening he had been due to perform at the Royal Variety Performance in front of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
But the security scare in Oxford Street delayed the start and anxious to fulfill his commitment to the people of Brighton, Blunt abandoned the Royal performance and grabbed a helicopter down to the Sussex coast.
It was London’s loss.
While other stars seeking to pack two performances into one evening might have seemed frazzled even if the schedule had run to time, Blunt arrived at the Brighton Centre fizzing with energy and good humour.
For any contemporary music star, Sussex is never an easy gig.
For concerts such as this, the predominantly middle-aged audience is incredibly polite. Which always works well for the support act - in this case Jamie Lawson - but makes getting the auditorium on the feet and swaying to the music more challenging.
No-one wants to block the view of those behind them.
Blunt, of course, is not simply an exceptional musician and composer. He has a stage presence which reaches every corner of the 4,500 seats.
All his classics were included in the programme. ‘You’re Beautiful’, ‘High’, ‘Stay the Night’ and, of course, ‘Bonfire Heart’ - the perfect final encore.
The song that stole the evening was ‘Goodbye My Lover’ - performed with such exceptional force and power you might have believed the break-up had occurred earlier in the evening, rather than a split from the Royal Variety Performance.
The tour is designed to support his fifth album The Afterlove released earlier this year.
It does that in spades, but there are no disappointments for fans hoping to hear earlier triumphs.
Blunt is every bit a star performer. That’s because he simply doesn’t produce duds. Every track he has ever recorded is rich with private emotion and flawless composition.
The Brighton audience loved it. By the end, they were all on their feet and demanding more. A future king missed out on the treat of the year.
James Blunt The Afterlove Tour - Brighton Centre