Hundreds of Matt Cardle admirers, teenaged to middle-aged, surrounded Manchester’s O2 Apollo last night for an evening with 2010’s X-factor winner.
Fanatical merchandise purchases, high-pitched screaming and throwing tokens of affection at the rough-edged heart-throb were all part of the evening for many and although not on our agenda, we were pleasantly surprised by the artist’s performance.
After opening the show with the album track ‘Stars and Lovers’ it was clear why this 28-year-old Essex lad was always going to win Simon Cowell’s trademark talent show.
His voice is faultless and his guitar skills more than just a stage novelty and yet unlike most talent show finalists his presence is down to earth and unrehearsed.
The set reflected the performer perfectly in its simplicity and the supporting band was excellent.
As a new artist the set list understandably consisted mostly of album tracks which generally lacked a direction and seemed to be too tame for a guy who pre-fame enjoyed playing in two rock bands.
Apart from his released hits ‘Run For Your Life’, penned by Gary Barlow, and the Biffy Clyro cover ‘Collide’ his songs came across individually solid but collectively formulaic with a blend of Coldplay falsettos and rock ballad crescendos.
One song caught the audience’s attention when he alluded to a friendship that turned into more for one night only, leaving many pondering over the gender of this ‘friend’.
The time came when an inevitable performance of ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’, first made famous by Roberta Flack and his most famous performance on the X-Factor.
It was at this point you could forgive Cowell for all his inane, sycophantic post-performance clichés such as ‘you really made that song your own’ or ‘you really nailed that’, as Cardle’s voice was simply perfect and deserving of any standing ovation.
The performance all-round was solid and Cardle himself was flattering to his audience and most impressed with the reception commenting how true it was ‘the further north you go the nicer the people get.'
Given the right material, Matt Cardle could achieve the sort of music business longevity most talent show finalists could only dream of. Another album like ‘Letters’ however, could mean this talented, humble artist may just be another nice guy finishing last.