By Mandy Rogers
From the moment his band and backing singers first touched stage, dressed in Burberry macs taking up their positions via entering a free standing door set at mid-stage. The culminating arrival of Will Young additionally dressed with a navy beret looking very Frank Spencer, and with a tiny glint in his eye, you immediately sensed that the evening was going to turn into something memorable.
As the band launched into the introduction of forthcoming single “Come On” – Will whipped off his mac and beret, and beckoned the crowd to their feet, which is where we remained throughout his 90 minute set.
And what a show stopping set it was, featuring the bulk of his hit singles and showcasing a selection from his latest album “Echoes”.
From the off-set a charismatic Will had his audience fully engaged with his silky soulful deliveries of new tracks “Come On”, “I Just Want A Lover” and “Hearts On Fire”, further pulling out all the stops with some truly sublime performances of “Changes”, “Your Game” and “Light My Fire” from his back catalogue.
However, it was the poignant performances of “Outsider” with the spotlight turned directly upon Will, now seated watching a TV, back-dropped by a projection of the cartoon “Popeye” that tugged at our hearts. Leaving a silent audience fully absorbed. Further magic happened during Will’s faultless rendition of “Silent Valentine” that resulted in a cascading shower of red tissue paper hearts descending down upon the stage, that scored the nights first real touching WOW moment’s. Then after, once more, he draw gasps from his adoring audience on “Personal Thunder” as he leapt from the stage wandering freely amongst the swaying crowd, who by now were mostly balanced on tip-toes with necks craned so as not to miss a split nano-second. Mini me included!
A personal highlight for me, came in the form of “You and I”, Will’s soaring vocals combined with the tracks overall euphoric ambience, reached in and hit my core, spot on. From goosebumps to buzzzin, as Will sent the venue shaking, fit to burst it’s walls with the Hot Gun raunchiness of “Switch It On”.
All too soon the encore was upon us, falling to a cover of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” that saw a debut on Dermot O’Leary’s show on Radio 2. A real surprise choice in his Pop Idol winning debut single “Evergreen” that unlike its original incarnation, which I have never liked so much, had now undergone a beautiful transition and evolved into a spellbinding, touching ballad, showing off Will’s growing maturity as an artist. To an injection of humour as Will set about plugging his tour merchandise. Primarily one item that I had clocked whilst entering the venue, coincidently promising myself I would just have to buy before I left for home. This was done in a QVC style fashion with jingle accompaniment, and it was hilariously funny. To ending the night and sending his adoring fans back on their way back home on a rousing upbeat notes of “Jealousy”.
It is impossible at times to remember that Will Young has been in the business now for 10 years, because all of his songs are of such a timeless quality that you’d think they were brand new. But Will IS this seasoned performer, who first touched our hearts through daring to challenge Simon Cowell’s comments on Pop Idol, and then went on to win it. However, now it is his complete package of talent, passion for his craft, together with charisma, sincerity and absolutely flawless performances that make him the star that he is now and will no question further propel him as a major artist that will be around for decades more – no doubt about it.
There was a lot of love flowing in the Ipswich Regent last night and I happily took some of that away with me as I exited the venue, together with my favoured choice of kitsch souvenir tea-towel, adorned with a posed Will in his “Jealousy” lyrca cat suit firmly in my hand. I just can’t wait to tell all my friends that Will Young is in my kitchen doing my dishes!
Will Young’s current album “Echoes” is now available through iTunes