WORTH A LOOK?: ****1/2
WHEN?: Monday 6 September 2021, tour runs until 8 July 2022
SETLIST: Crying On The Bathroom Floor; Light My Fire; Losing You; Changes; ‘Til There’s Nothing Left; Who Am I; Jealousy; Come On; You And I; Elizabeth Taylor; Daniel; Leave Right Now; Your Game
We’ve been to Q&As before but never 1 where an audience member has proposed to her boyfriend and the act has invited them onstage as Will Young did here.
- Read on for reasons including whether Ade accepted Leanne’s marriage proposal
It’s a beautiful genuine moment when Young draws a seat for Ade to sit on and hands Leanne the microphone and he accepts. ‘I will come and sing at your wedding for free,’ he offers as the delighted couple leave the stage and then adds impishly: ‘Unless I’m on holiday in the Bahamas at the time!’
We’ve added an exclamation mark to that qualifier because Young appears to be absolutely revelling in the intimate nature of this acoustic show with questions submitted via Slido to his iPad for him to read out and answer those that he fancies.
We’ve just read his book How To Be A Gay Man and that, coupled with the real-life interaction here, gives a real sense of his character, heart, sense of mischief and self-deprecating sense of humour that we’ve sometimes struggled to find in his music.
A song after Leanne and Ade have left the stage Young adds: ‘I was thinking of what to wear to the wedding through that song. I don’t want to upstage the bride but I’m not ruling out white.’
The other moment this evening that truly touches us is when we can hear the audience, predominantly middle aged women with a liberal sprinkling of gay men, singing along to Young’s biggest hit Leave Right Now, never drowning him out but giving a sense of both community and appreciation.
We 1st saw Young headlining at London Arena in 2002 after winning Pop Idol with the rest of the cast and have caught him since at Camden Roundhouse in 2008 and Eventim Apollo in 2015 and it’s only really here shorn of a band and a big production when we really understand what he’s all about.
We’re stood right at the back of a raked theatre with a 680-capacity yet no allocated seats and 1 of the questions from the audience seems to ring true for many: ‘Have you got any cushions for these seats? No I haven’t. How uncomfortable are they on a scale of 1 to 10?’
We’ve seen Young twice in the West End in Cabaret, for which he was nominated for an Olivier Award and Strictly Ballroom. He’s asked when he might return and he says he’d like to but with ‘something really good’ which indicates to us that we shouldn’t hold our breath just yet.
One of his comments which strikes us is how he’s always preferred to be a singer rather than a pop star and this acoustic setting really allows us to appreciate what a strong soulful yet identifiable voice he has which lifts him above many of the West End competition he must be auditioning against.
This audience appears to be more politely appreciative than others: ‘One place I won’t name they just talked through it,’ he says. ‘Then someone started shouting: ‘Get your shirt off.’
Young is promoting his album of covers written by women and in retrospect we were possibly a little snippy about Crying On The Bathroom Floor particularly after hearing some of its best songs in this setting. Keyboardist also Christian Gulino makes for an entertaining foil.
Young reveals that he is about to launch a podcast about mental health and we look forward to discovering more about that.
We might have been stood right at the back of this venue but what we’ll remember most is the twinkle in Young’s eye we could have sworn was shining throughout this gig not least when he apologises mid-song during Daniel for pulling out of a note with a: ‘Too high to do that, sorry.’