fri 10/04/2020

Lewis Capaldi, SSE Hydro, Glasgow review - triumphant homecoming from Brit-conquering hero | reviews, news & interviews

Lewis Capaldi, SSE Hydro, Glasgow review - triumphant homecoming from Brit-conquering hero

Lewis Capaldi, SSE Hydro, Glasgow review - triumphant homecoming from Brit-conquering hero

Blue music and blue language in sellout show from Bathgate's favourite son

"When you're enjoying this song I want you to remember I was really fucking sad when I wrote it": Lewis Capaldi

Critical and commercial success haven’t gone to the head of Lewis Capaldi. The 23-year-old opened his first of two sold-out nights at Glasgow’s 14,000-capacity enormodrome – booked when he was yet to release his debut album – with a video montage poking fun of his po-faced reaction to Billie Eilish beating him to Song of the Year at the Grammys in January.

Critical and commercial success haven’t gone to the head of Lewis Capaldi. The 23-year-old opened his first of two sold-out nights at Glasgow’s 14,000-capacity enormodrome – booked when he was yet to release his debut album – with a video montage poking fun of his po-faced reaction to Billie Eilish beating him to Song of the Year at the Grammys in January.

Coming mere weeks after his double win at the Brit Awards, the show had the feel of a triumphant homecoming – albeit one in for which the vanquishing hero was constantly rewarding the crowd with profanity-laden gratitude. Almost exactly three years ago, Capaldi told us, he was playing a support slot at the city’s 13th Note: an admission that prompted more cheers of recognition than could fit in the tiny basement venue. “I know you work hard for your money,” he told us, “I’m glad you decided to give it to a fat guy from West Lothian”.

The self-deprecating humour has become expected from Capaldi, but the songs stand on their own. Lovelorn rocker “Grace” opened the night with arena-worthy confidence, boosted by a wall of speakers and ten thousand backing vocalists, while confetti from the cannons that punctuated the final chorus continued to flutter through the atmospheric ballad that followed. “I never said that we would die together,” he crooned, lower lip trembling, “that doesn’t mean it was a lie”.

Still having just the one album to his name, Capaldi is yet to demonstrate much musical range: the 12-song set, almost entirely taken from Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent, leaned heavily on themes of love and longing, with even the upbeat songs hiding an undercurrent of melancholy. (“When you’re enjoying this song I want you to remember I was really sad when I wrote it,” said Capaldi as he introduced “Hollywood”, featuring more confetti cannons and a backing band that wouldn’t sound out of place on country radio.) But if the music started to drag – the dirge-like “Headspace”, for example – you were only ever a couple of minutes away from another entertaining monologue, Capaldi more offensive than charm.

Besides, sometimes songs of love and longing hit you right where you need them to. Take the staggering performance of “Bruises”, the song where it all began, performed with just a piano and that tremulous, soulful voice. And mega-hit “Someone You Loved”, saved for the encore but cheekily trailed throughout, thousands of devotees singing Capaldi home.

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