Usually when I finish work, I find myself trudging to the train station to commence the long commute back home to spend the rest of the night on the sofa with naf weeknight television before eventually clambering up the stairs to bed. Thursday, however, was different. I went to Jess Glynne’s gig at the First Direct Arena and.. holy bananas! I have been to some great gigs before in my life but Jess Glynne was beyond words.
I booked tickets to her gig back in June. It was the first thing I did to celebrate getting my new (well, it was new at the time) job. Five months passed by and I’d completely forgotten about it until a couple of days before when the tickets got delivered. It was like I’d got the tickets as a surprise as I had no idea what a special delivery envelope was doing on my doormat when I got in from work.
So anyway, I thought I’d share the concert with you as nobody should miss out on it!
When the support acts for announced, I had no idea who ‘Raye’ was. I guess the smart thing to do would have been to at least Google them but I’m not exactly the brightest crayon in the box so I didn’t do that. But when ‘Raye’ walked on, my best friend and I looked at one another and both said the same four words – ‘she is so cute!‘. She is literally so tiny and so small, especially on a massive stage with just a small band to keep her company.
I didn’t recognise any of her songs (bar the last song which I’ll go into in a second) but they definitely seemed like the sort of songs which I could grow to love. As for her last song, ‘By Your Side’ – Jonas Blue’s latest single which she features on, I recognised it but couldn’t sing along with it until the chorus. But ever since the gig, I’ve had the song on repeat. It is easily my favourite song right now. If you haven’t listened to it, I suggest you go whack it on right now because it is insane!
Since we were standing, we were pretty much right at the front so we could overhear lots and lots of different conversations and most of them mentioned the same sentence, or question – ‘who the hell is Wretch 32?’. I only knew who he was because I was pretty much a diehard ‘waste man’ when I was fourteen years old. I went from loving the likes of Skepta, DJ Ironik and Wretch 32 to Young Money, Lil Wayne, Drake and Nicki Minaj. And whilst my taste in ‘rap’ went stateside, I still remembered most of his songs (thanks to a little reminder from Apple Music when we were queuing up).
When he hit the stage, fourteen year old me returned and I kept verbally abusing my best friend by calling her a ‘waste man’ and throwing the odd ‘braap braap’ and ‘mad ting fam’ into the air. We had an absolute ball! As soon as ‘Traktor’ came on, we lost our shit and turned right up. So thank-you Wretch 32 for taking me back to my teenage years.
Then it was time for the main gal to hit the stage. The reason why 12,000 of us turned up. Jess fricking Glynne!
Now, here’s a funny little story for you about Jess Glynne. A couple of years ago, my housemate got me and my other housemate into the BBC Music Awards. Jess Glynne wasn’t really the huge artist that she is today – ‘Rather Be’ had only just been released with Clean Bandits so I had no idea what she looked like. In the music video, it’s just a Japanese girl wandering around Tokyo.. When Clean Bandits and this random girl hit the same, my housemate asked if it was Jess Glynne but as I thought she was the Japanese girl in the music video, I was like ‘nah, don’t be silly!’. Long story short, I got home and realised it was Jess Glynne.
Well, at least I knew I was off to watch the actual Jess Glynne this time!
You know an artist is insanely talented when they sound the same in person to what they sound like on a studio recorded CD. Her vocals were so mesmerising and she made it look so easy. Her stage presence was on point, getting the whole arena to participate in singing parts of her song. The set list was flawless – mixing up the fast pace dance tunes with the heart-felt melodies.
There were two occasions where I found myself welling up. The first was when Jess dedicated her acoustic version of ‘My Love’ to her parents and mentioned some parents she met backstage who’s child had died. Then the second was when she sang ‘Take Me Home’. I cry at that song as it is but to see the rest of the arena lighting up their phones to create a sea of lights.. it definitely tugged on my little heart strings.
All in all, it was such an amazing concert. It was my first concert at Leeds Arena and it’s so small in comparison to the likes of Manchester’s MEN Arena or the O2 Arena but so intimate too. And standing right at the front made it even more intimate. I would happily go to another Jess Glynne gig. She was amazingggggg!