GIG REVIEW: Sam Ryder at Sala Apolo, Barcelona

By Neil Durham


WHEN?: Tuesday 8 November, tour runs until 4 April 2023

SETLIST: Tiny Riot; Whirlwind; Somebody; Put A Light On Me; Deep Blue Doubt; You’re The Voice; All The Way Over; More; Everybody Wants To Rule The World/I Want To Break Free/September/The Way You Make Me Feel; SPACE MAN

Before this show we thank Ryder for turning around the UK’s Eurovision fortunes and ask him whether he will be playing a part in the 2023 event in Liverpool next May and he doesn’t yet know.

  • Read on for reasons including how we think Ryder deserves to take part in Liverpool 2023 for bringing Eurovision to the UK

His debut album There’s Nothing But SPACE, MAN! is now out 9 December and he returns to London for 2 dates this month before a 13-date UK tour in spring including a London gig at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith, link at the end of this review for tickets.

We enjoyed the VIP experience for this gig which consisted of an hour before the gig with Sam including an intimate performance of new single All The Way Over with 20-or-so other fans, a chance to ask him anything we wanted, to take selfies with him and for him to sign a tour lanyard.

One of our party compares Sam’s voice to Aretha Franklin’s and asks him how he looks after it given the stresses of a European tour he is now 27 dates into and which concluded in Madrid last night.

He thanks the fan for her concern and his mood is irrepressibly cheery and it is this enthusiasm which helped propel him to a jury win at last May’s Eurovision in Turin and we can’t imagine he won’t be featuring in some form at next year’s event.

We last saw him live at Portsmouth’s glorious Victorious Festival in August and tonight’s headliner set is the 1st time we hear him play next single All The Way Over (watch clip above) which is a beautifully-sung, Adele-like ballad which we would imagine would bring him the sort of success he enjoyed when Eurovision entry SPACE MAN reached number 2 in the UK charts following his runner-up finish there.

Last single Somebody wasn’t a big hit in the UK so there feels like there’s a little pressure on this new single not least because the release date for the debut album has shifted backwards a few times.

This certainly isn’t the vibe that Ryder exudes however and his mood is relentlessly positive even twice hugging the member of our party who shares concerns about the pressures our hero is placing on his own singing voice and coming out into the audience from the stage during tonight’s gig to a fan who needs comfort.

In many ways Sam made his name in lockdown performing covers on Tik Tok and that’s why we’re imagining that this set features them quite so heavily.The choice is a little middle of the road for us and we would have liked to have heard much more of the material that will feature on the new album particularly those songs that he has co-written.

But, minor gripe aside, he’s been a terrific ambassador for the UK at Eurovision and we as a country will do well to find an act next year who can perform as well as Ryder vocally and also represent us with such dedication and professionalism.

It was an unexpected joy to find him performing quite so close to our Raval home in Barcelona and we’re delighted he had such fun on his visit to our city not least in Born’s Horror Maze!

  • Main picture courtesy Sam Ryder Tickets
  • Have you heard any of Sam’s songs or seen any of his shows? Let us know what you thought in the comments below
  • Enjoyed this review? Follow monstagigz on Twitter @NeilDurham, email and check us out on Instagram and Facebook

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