October 25, 2014 Chronicle Live
Paolo Nutini delivered a stunning set to a sell-out crowd at Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena
Paolo Nutini performs at the Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle
Eight years ago I crammed into the O2 Academy 2 to see a virtually unknown Scottish singer based on the release of his debut album, These Streets, and was blown away.
From that moment I knew Paolo Nutuni was a talented musician and can still remember the shy teenager hiding behind his microphone stand, but tonight a totally different singer stepped onto the stage.
Even though he is not a dynamic performer and still spent much of his time draped over this microphone stand, Nutini delivered a stunning set of tracks covering all three of his albums.
Backed by an eight-piece band, with a brass section and a gospel backing singer, he kicked off his UK tour in style.
The sell-out crowd screamed and cheered as he opened with hit single Scream (Funk My Life Up), which was quickly followed by Let Me Down Easy both from his recent album Caustic Love.
Both of these tracks demonstrated the passion and power in Nutini’s soulful voice and this continued with Coming Up Easy and Alloway Grove,
At times Nutini seemed overwhelmed when the crowd started singing his songs and he thanked everyone for coming to see him since ‘he’s never played in an arena before’ and judging by the audience’s reaction I’m sure his days of playing smaller venues are over.
Early on in the set Nutini repackaged his classic hits, Jenny Don’t Be Hasty and New Shoes, into a new-wave-influenced medley which was a clever re-working but if I’m honest I prefer the originals.
Next up was These Streets, which was accompanied by home video footage from Paolo’s childhood in Paisley, which added to the poignancy of the lyrics as that’s where it all began for him.
Nutini then returned to Caustic Love and performed Diana, Looking for Something and Better Man, as well as the up-tempo Cherry Blossom. This seemed to unleash the ‘inner Paolo’ as he started dancing and swinging his microphone.
Every track was full of emotion, especially his lament to long-distance love, No Other Way. But the most powerful performance was his new track Iron Sky, especially when it boomed Charlie Chaplin’s speech from The Great Dictator across the arena.
By the end of the show Nutini had the crowd wanting more and he didn’t disappoint. Several minutes after leaving the stage, he reappeared for a three-song encore including Candy and a stripped back acoustic performance of Last Request. The perfect way to end a perfect gig.