Review: Jack Savoretti @ The Forum, Bath

"What happens in Bath, stays in Bath," shouts Jack Savoretti to a middle aged man who had deemed half way through Jack's set list a good enough time as any to confess his love to the singer by bellowing his admiration over the quiet murmur protruding from the crowd. It was that time again. Beth and I were stood in a different venue but the same familiar faces of Jack and his band mates stood above us on the stage ahead. Rather than use the approach of separating crowd and artist by a barrier The Forum in Bath had nothing, not even a single human, separating me from the stage. I had my elbows resting against it as I looked up and embraced the sights from the front row.

Three hours previous to this moment I was sat in a car pulling into Bath. We had our cameras stuck out of the windows trying to capture the sun setting over the city as it gave Bath's beige buildings their own golden tint. Every house, cafe and post office looked identical in colour and as we drove through they all blurred into one beige smudge on a canvas. The queue for the bus stop was over twice the length as the queue outside the venue and I was shocked at the excess of people that were waiting to catch a bus home on a cold Saturday evening. The queue for Jack looked measly in comparison but I had faith that people would flood to the venue in no time. Emerged in deep life chats, which happen to be the only thing to ease the wait of gig queueing, my attention was fully elsewhere until I turned around at 6.15pm that I noticed the queue had not only grown but that it had twisted it's way around the side of the building.

After being let inside we were met by some of the most beautiful architecture I have seen to date. The inside of the auditorium resembled an old fashioned theatre and patterns lined the walls in shades of blue. The ceiling was a sight to behold and I often found myself so distracted by it's chandelier appearance that I almost fell unaware as the house lights went down. Support act Earl had travelled from Alaska and emerged from the stage door with a collection of pearls around her neck. She took her place at a keyboard looking as if she had walked straight from the screen of an old fashioned, silent film. However, any images of silent movies were shattered as soon as she opened her mouth. Despite her strong vocals filling the entire room it appeared as if she was was conveying this emotion to just one of us rather than the assemblage of hundreds of peering eyes. She had so much energy surging through her that the connection she had with the crowd caused silence rather than the usual chatter of voices that fill the time between the main act. In between songs she launched numerous copies of her EP's and a T Shirt into the crowd for lucky receivers to squabble over. By the end of her performance she announced that she wished to pick up the entire audience and place us in her pocket so that, whenever she happened to feel down, she could open it and we could shout cheers of encouragement in the same way that we did to each song that she performed.

At 9, everyone was in place other than Jack himself. His band members had taken position behind their instrument of choice. The Spanish/Italian style interlude of Written in Scars that marks the start of the eponymous track from his new album as it begins to play. The room, packed full of members of Jack's close-knit fan base, allow cheers to be reciprocated right up to the rafters.

Across the hours Jack sailed through a charismatic set complemented by his raspy voice, a selection of guitars and the added accessory of a tambourine at his disposal. Each of his songs showcase some of the belters of his four albums, the majority being from the most recent of the two. As with every show of his I've encountered to date, he was left to conquer the stage solo part way through in order to share an anecdote about song Nobody 'Cept You and how he insists it was the song to save his life. "I wasn't standing on the edge of a cliff or anything," he announced. "But emotionally- I was pretty screwed up. This song sort of put me in place." As he went on to sing those listening tended to react in one of two ways. It was the perfect mixture of those chorusing the lyrics back at him and those who were left silent in both admiration and apprehension. They allowed the words to effect them in the same way that they had effected Jack as he first encountered them all those years ago. He smiled coyly at those in front of him and seemed unable to get his head around the concept that he had managed to fill the room with people that were there to see him perform.

Other favourites were Not Worthy and Knock Knock from penultimate album Before The Storm and tracks The Other Side Of Love and Sweet Hurt were met with a roar of complete and utter approval. Tie Me Down was greeted with laughter as Jack insisted that, despite the opinions of foreign journalists, the song was not based of Fifty Shades of Grey. With each song the prestige each audience member had for the Italian-Englisher grew and time and time again he found himself greeted with what can only be described as rapturous applause. A reception he was clearly chuffed with.

Jacks success will continue to grow off the back of his new album and I left the building with his setlist in hand feeling reassured that my third encounter with Jack will not be the last.


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