Review: Jack Savoretti @ O2 Academy, Bristol

"I played a Caffè Nero here in Bristol once, but I doubt any of you were there so long ago," Jack announces to the crowd of Bristol whilst musing over his memories over the city. Having previously had a not so good Caffè Nero encounter involving a trainee barista, some squirty cream and a dead fly floating in Beth's mocha just hours earlier in Bristol's Cabot Circus the story seemed even funnier to us. But as the crowd shouted back their encounters with Jack we eagerly awaited to hear his highly anticipated fifth album live on stage for the first time.

Having sat on the cold pavement outside Bristol's O2 for a measly hour and a half, our position at the front of the queue was demolished when we learnt that practically the whole of Bristol owned phones on the O2 network. We watched in dismay as rows of priority bobble hats and scarves were escorted inside the venue before the rope separating our line from the door had even been removed. Making a beeline for the front of the room, we chucked our tickets at the doormen and zigzagged through far too many old ladies, all there to wolf whistle at all the right moments, claiming ourselves a position to the far right of the stage. Jack’s classic tapestry style rug lay in it’s usual spot stage centre.

Support came in the elegant form of female singer-songwriter JONES, a picture in a pair of flowing black trousers and a gold halter neck that was complemented by the moving of the spotlights. With songs imbued with a sense of calm, the signature of her soulful tunes seemed to be entangled with themes of love. Tracks Hoops and Walk My Way were received with a keen reaction from the crowd, shouts emerging from both the floor and the numerous layers of balcony that the O2 provides.

With ten guitar picks hanging from his mic stand, Savoretti took to the stage at 9pm to be met by his first sold out show of the tour. With people crammed in to the very back of every level of the building, his reception was - as per usual - rounds of euphoric applause. This being my fourth experience watching him live, it felt oddly bitter to not hear the foreign style interlude of track Written in Scars opening the show as done every time previously. Instead, following his pattern of using the title track to commence a beginning, we heard the sharp whistling that kick starts his fifth album's title track Sleep No More.

With his extensive guitar collection and the rare appearance of his tambourine, the following hours consisted of a different set to the one I was used to. With a new album to play around with, he performed every one of his new tracks. Each one was met with a reaction of pure approval. “Some of you lot know the words better than I do,” Jack announced as he took a swig from his beer bottle. With the album Sleep No More having only been on the shelves for a matter of days it was an impressive stat that a large chunk of the crowd knew almost every song, if not by heart, well enough to shout back at him.

I was saddened to find that Nobody ‘Cept You, and accompanying anecdote, hadn’t found its way onto the newly updated setlist however old tunes including Written In Scars, Dreamers, Knock Knock and my all time biggest favourite Not Worthy from his penultimate album Before The Storm had all clung on and managed to worm there way back into the show’s content.

After a three track encore, the crowd fled onto the streets of Bristol on a cold November night to battle the queues in the car park. Streams of people at the merchandise stall tailed out of the front door and as I sat in the toilet cubicle I could hear someone to my right humming out that interlude of Written In Scars that I’d so dearly missed. I left the building to face the autumn zephyr with the sound of an acoustic guitar pleasantly ringing in my ears for the consistency of the journey home.

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