01 02 03 The Princess and The Pickle: An evening or two with Olly Murs 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

An evening or two with Olly Murs


Part 1 – Sheffield Motorpoint Arena 12/2/12

The Princess and I enjoyed a girly afternoon together, doing our hair, painting our nails and choosing our outfits (after she had ruled out my jeans and hoody by saying “Mummy you cannot wear THAT to see Olly Murs!”) before heading to Sheffield Motorpoint Arena.

We arrived at the arena and easily found our way to the correct entrance.  The queue was long but went down relatively quickly.  Once inside, the arena staff were very helpful and were showing everyone to their seats.  I was worried at 29 I’d be the oldest person in the audience, amongst a sea of teenage girls (which there were plenty of – most complete with their trilby hats), but I was relieved to find there were also lots of young children with their parents and I was definitely not the oldest!

Olly was someone I was happy to take The Princess (6 years old) to see, as he knows he has lots of young fans, is very clean cut and doesn’t swear on stage.  The audience weren’t as crazy as I’d expected and the whole experience was a lot calmer than the Take That concerts I am used to!  Even when Olly walked down the aisle at one side of the arena, there was minimal pushing and people generally stayed at their seats.

Before I continue, I think the warm up acts deserve a mention.  First to the stage were Lilygreen & Maguire.  They are a fairly unknown band at the moment but have been signed to Warner Brothers Records UK and I’m sure they will win people over with their music and also with their personalities.  They are a very likeable duo who describe themselves as “an update on the classic singer-songwriting partnerships of the early-mid 70s” and were a very welcome start to the show.  Starting with some of their own material, then moving on to a mash up of well known artists, such as Jessie J, The Killers, Bruno Mars and Bob Marley, before interacting with the crowd and warming up our vocals with lines such as “When I say bibbity bobbity, you say boo!”  I just have one problem with these boys.  They make me feel very old!

Lonsdale Boys Club were the second support act and were slightly rockier and much louder.  Their songs were catchy and they got everyone jumping and cheering, but I thought there was a little too much emphasis on volume and The Princess wasn’t impressed by them and found them a bit overpowering.  However, I very much doubt 6 year olds are their target audience and I can definitely see their appeal to the teens in the crowd.  Their “new wave of guitar led aural pleasure” is something I’d have happily listened to as a student and since playing some of their tracks at home I’ve actually found myself singing along.  They entertained and interacted well with the crowd, taking a photo for the audience to tag themselves in on Facebook, which was a very clever bit of self promotion!  They are signed to Gary Barlow’s label Future Records and have a tour of their own coming up and an album planned for release this summer.  Under the wing of Mr Barlow I’m sure they will do very well.

After a short interval, the lights went down and the screaming commenced.  A spotlight illuminated a figure in a cool pose – you would expect nothing less from Olly Murs.

He progressed through various songs, some from his first album and some from his second, accompanied by two backing singers / dancers, a small brass section, drums, percussion, keyboard, guitar and bass.  The brass section were a great addition to the show, especially as the three of them were so in sync and their personalities shone through in their performance.  The backing singers also gave a great performance and seemed very happy to be part of Olly’s show, smiling from start to finish!

But of course no one could steal the spotlight from Olly himself, who was a true star.  Even when his trousers split (which, being in the front row, The Princess found very funny indeed!) he carried on, holding his jacket in place until he had finished his song, then mouthed a quick “sorry” to the audience before disappearing for a costume change.

During this time, footage was shown of Olly in his dressing room getting ready for the show, complete with Superman dressing gown and slippers – The Princess found this bit hilarious and was giggling away to herself!  He reappeared looking much more casual and comfortable and carried on with the show, including a couple of Madness and James Brown covers.  This is obviously the style of music Olly enjoys and is influenced by, but it was also a nice touch to include these numbers to get all the parents in the audience dancing.  Not that we weren’t dancing already!

A little later, a bridge descended from the ceiling (something I remember Take That doing at Sheffield Arena back in the 90s) taking Olly out into the middle of the arena to ensure all his fans had a good view, even the ones sitting at the back.

He finished with The Princess’ favourite song, Please Don’t Let Me Go, along with pyrotechnics on stage and silver streamers being fired into the audience.  He thanked everyone for their support before leaving the stage in darkness.  The audience chanted his name and Olly returned to do one last song (and his most popular to date) Heart Skips A Beat.  The front of the arena ended up in a sea of gold confetti which The Princess loved!  She stuffed her bag full of it and the next morning decided she would make a gold tiara and bracelet with it – very creative I thought!

“Olly Murs looked very smart at the concert and sang very extremely well” – The Princess, aged 6

Part 2 – Bournemouth International Centre 16/2/12

I was also lucky enough to win tickets to see Olly at Bournemouth International Centre.  I’d planned to take The Princess along but thought twice in the same week would be a little too much excitement for her!  So, instead I let my hair down and enjoyed a drink or two, while having a great view of the show from the terrace.

It had been a few years since my last visit to the BIC (Russell Brand in 2009) and I’d forgotten just how tiny it is, compared to other venues.  Whether you’re in the stalls, terrace or balcony you feel very close to the stage and concerts there always feel very intimate, which helps create a great atmosphere.

Having seen both support acts at Sheffield I was surprised at how well I remembered some of their songs – particularly Sista Shake by Lonsdale Boys Club (the chorus of which is currently on repeat in my head as I write this) which makes me believe in their potential as recording artists.

Olly seemed far more relaxed in Bournemouth.  Maybe it was due to the small venue and the closeness of the audience, or maybe his trousers weren’t quite as tight as in Sheffield, who knows?!  He interacted more with the audience (again, maybe because he was so much closer to the crowd), joked and generally seemed to have a really good time on stage.  What shone through at the BIC was just how genuine he is.  While his fans down at the front were throwing things to him left right and centre, he was taking the time to pick up as many things as possible, putting friendship bracelets on his wrists and moving fluffy toys to the side for safe keeping, all while carrying on with his song.  

The finale had an amazing atmosphere with everyone chanting and stamping their feet until Olly returned to the stage.  The whole arena was bouncing at his demand to the beat and the tiered seating quite literally rocked and bounced with us until the very end!

The show had less gimmicks than in other venues, such as the bridge and pyrotechnics, but let’s face it, if Olly had tried to fit his bridge in the BIC he’d have ended up on the sea front! 

Whether you’re a fan of the X Factor and the kind of artists it produces or not, you can’t deny Olly is very talented – he can sing, dance, entertain the audience and is very likeable.  He has an original style and the evening was full of catchy feel-good songs.  If I was cool enough to wear a trilby hat, I would take it off to him!

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