Scottish rock star James Grant had not one but two sell out gigs in this Celtic Connections Festival. It was a case of rock music meets orchestral music with the introduction of the Hallelujah String Ensemble. An inspired combination.
Seasoned campaigner James Grant was on top form as he delivered a top notch performance ably accompanied by his own band and the string ensemble. This Glasgow singer songwriter gave a whole new dimension to his hits including I Can’t Stop Bleeding, Jacquelines Shoes and Lips Like Ether when accompanied by the ensemble. One major highlight of the show however was when all the instruments were put to one side as James Grant gave a purely orchestral backing version of Nature Bay which was both evocative and emotional. The deep resonant voice of Grant was at its very best.
Getting the audience on his side at an early stage in the proceedings by saying that he was missing out on one of his idols performing in Glasgow, Robert Plant, just so he could sing for them and hoped they were enjoying the concert. The massive round of applause soon told him what he wanted to hear. That warm applause stayed with him all the way through the night and got louder as the pace increased. I was left thinking I was in a past food takeaway when factions in the crowd kept shouting for Cheeseburger however it was of course one of Grant’s early hits. They weren’t overly disappointed as the good tunes kept coming. By the time he came back onto the stage for his encore the crowd were on their feet and ready to dance which they duly did as soon as the band struck up the opening notes to Hallelujah Man. James Grant brought this concert to an end with a fitting tribute to the late David Bowie with an outstanding version of Bowie’s Starman.
A wonderful end to a fantastic night of music delivered by a consummate professional.
Danny & Ruth Matheson
Celtic Music Radio