The Verse’s Charley Gale tells us what she thought of Tom O’Dell’s gig at The Brighton Dome on 27th October 2018.
Knowing that this was Tom O’Dell’s last performance for the UK Jubilee Road Tour, I was very excited. When my housemate and I arrived at the Dome, Charlotte- the first in O’Dell’s supporting acts- had already began her performance. Having only a guitarist accompany her, the audience’s focus was solely on Charlotte and her voice. She sang a mix of original songs and covers, which I thought was clever for those who did not know her lyrics. This way they could at least sing along to the more popular ones that they knew. However, despite being on a fairly spacious stage, she was restricted to a corner which made her performance feel slightly awkward. Nevertheless, her beautiful vocals made us forget her uncomfortable predicament.
Next up, was Tom Speight- accompanied by Lydia Clowes. Like Charlotte, his music was stripped back to guitar and keyboard. The most memorable part of the set was when Speight came down to the standing area and had the audience encircle him with their phone lights on whilst he sang. This created a really sweet, chilled out atmosphere that was very enjoyable to be a part of.
Both Tom and Lydia were so beautifully matched with their harmonies and chemistry that they were a joy to listen to. My favourite song he played for us was one he had nicknamed his ‘wedding song’. He explained proudly that it had been played frequently at weddings. It is, quite aptly, named Love. During this song, he gave the audience a line to sing along with him. His ability to really involve the crowd with his entire performance created a lovely experience for everyone.
During the supporting acts the crowd had gradually filled in, so the atmosphere was buzzing with anticipation and excitement for Tom O’Dell to come and perform for us. He walked out to a jumble of cheers and applause and sat down at his famous black grand piano. As it was his Jubilee Road Tour, he quite rightly began the performance with the song (you guessed it) Jubilee Road. Whilst listening to the audience join in with the chorus, he had a playful smile on his face. Clearly he was already enjoying the performance.
He then went on to sing songs from his two previous albums Long Way Down and Wrong Crowd, such as Sparrow and Supposed To Be. Throughout the performance, he and his band (Max Goff, Max Clilverd and Andy Burrows) completely bounced off one another as they played around on stage. It was evident that they had a close bond, which must be key when touring together.
He then sang You’re Gonna Break My Heart Tonight from Jubilee Road. During this song, he brought out Ed Mitchell, a saxophonist who played the song’s sax instrumental impeccably. It really was the perfect addition to the song and made the performance even more special. We especially felt honoured that he chose Brighton as one of the nights to have Ed Mitchell play. Apparently he had limited funds to have him out on stage. After the song, the atmosphere was so lively that Tom got up from his piano and danced around the stage. When he sang Hold Me from Long Way Down, he came into the audience and walked along a low wall that encircled the standing area. The audience turned to follow him like magnets, refusing to let him out of their sight whilst belting out the chorus of the song. The energy was palpable. At one point, he actually stood on his piano as he serenaded us. When he sang Entertainment from Wrong Crowd, he stood closely to the audience and danced playfully.
When he walked off, the call for encore definitely could not be ignored. Everyone from the standing area stomped excitedly, the anticipation growing- no one yet ready for the performance to be finished. O’Dell walked back on eagerly, also evidently not willing to let the night end. He sang Half As Good As You from Jubilee Road and Magnetised from Wrong Crowd before ending the performance with an energetic instrumental solo with his band. Being reminded of this incredible performance, I definitely think that it was an incredible night. If you ever get the chance, I would strongly recommend that you see Tom O’Dell live.