Don't get me wrong, I've admired her strong vocals and found many of her songs catchy and enjoyable, but I did wonder if maybe this wasn't going to be 'my thing'.
The Bournemouth International Centre (a 'big' venue for us, but the couple next to us commented how 'small' it was - Different strokes!) was the last stop on her UK tour in support of her second album, which, if I'm honest, I didn't really find as enjoyable as her first although there were a few good tracks, but I figured there'd be a fair selection of old and new tracks for me to enjoy.
I treated my daughter to a ticket as an early Christmas present, too, and we settled in to watch the two support acts.
The first, Moss Kena, was more enjoyable when he didn't insist in singing in an extreme falsetto voice, but I guess it's his USP and some must like it.
The second, Not3s ("Say Take...","Notes" as his DJ got the crowd to respond), is best known (my daughter tells me) for his rapping over tracks by Mabel (Someone else I'd never heard of!). Rap is undoubtedly a musical black hole to me - I neither like nor understand it, although, to be fair Not3s was more melodic than many of his contemporaries and he and his DJ seemed to be having fun. Not my cuppa, but not the worst experience of my life.
The plain black backdrop for the support acts was lowered to reveal a more complex set with a huge screen behind the stage and smaller (but still 12ft or so high) ones either side of the stage.
Just after 9PM, the larger screen displayed "Always In Between" (the title of her second album and the tour) and then 'Summer' as the band, dancers and backing singers appeared and struck up the familiar chords of "Hold My Hand", which made a perfect opener with the lyrics "Are you ready for this?"
Moments later Jess appeared wearing a white outfit (I'll let the photos explain, I'm no fashion guru!) and some funky looking sunglasses (So we remembered it was Summer I guess...).
"Hold My Hand" was a great opener and from the off, it was clear that we were getting a 'big show', with fireworks, shiney ticker tape and dancing and giant screen shots. We were quite near the front, with a good view of the stage (for once we avoided the giants who inevitably tend to cluster at the front of the floor at gigs blocking the view for everyone else!), but the side screens provided close ups of the action (both Jess and band and dancers), while the large backdrop screen provided set dressing and close-ups at various times. It was very professional and added to the sense of event.
Jess commented that Bournemouth was like a 'home from home' for her as she'd spent a lot of her childhood with her grandmother her, as my daughter had (I grew up in the area), so we found common ground.
As the gig progressed, the big screen progressed through Autumn (well done Jess, no 'Fall' faux Americanism!), Winter and Spring and Jess migrated through a number of costumes.
At one stage, and I can't remember which song now, Jess left the stage and appeared in the audience on a lifting platform with a pianist to do a number of songs, illuminated by a single spotlight from above, which was particularly popular with those in the first few rows of the balcony as she got closer to them. It wasn't 'Christine and the Queens' level interaction, but it was a nice touch, especially as these songs were, mostly, more intimate ballad style ones.
After these songs, she was back to the stage to finish the main set with All I Am (one of the best tracks on the second album, I think).
Highlights for me were "Don't be so Hard on Yourself' (my favourite of her songs), recent song "Thursday" , "Take Me Home", "Ain't Got Far to Go" and, actually, quite a few others - It was all eminently enjoyable.
Unsurprisingly, she was back for a 2 song encore, the popular "Right Here" and recent single (although not one of my favourites), "I'll Be There".
Overall, We'd had a great time. Jess' voice came over well live and the whole show was slick and brilliantly delivered. The setup of a band, dancers and backing singers was quite 'old school', but the quality delivered was excellent and Jess Glynne is a personable and confident performer in both the upbeat and slower numbers.
A class act from beginning to end and one of the best shows I've seen this year!
Hold My Hand
You Can Find Me
These Days(Rudimental cover)
Ain't Got Far to Go
Don't Be So Hard on Yourself
Take Me Home
So Real (Warriors) / Real Love
My Love / Rather Be
All I Am
I'll Be There