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16th May 2023

Olly Murs Marries Manchester

Olly Murs returned to Manchester on 5th May showcasing a range of songs from his newest album Marry Me, as well as his classic noughties hits and a sprinkling of some of his favourite artists.
Olly Murs Marries Manchester

Olly Murs returned to Manchester on 5th May showcasing a range of songs from his newest album Marry Me, as well as his classic noughties hits and a sprinkling of some of his favourite artists.

Supporting the Voice judge and X-Factor winner, was the indie/pop rock boy band Scouting For Girls, famously known for noughties hits ‘This Ain’t A Love Song’ and ‘She’s So Lovely’, the latter being their final song chanted the loudest by their amorous audience. Fans rejoiced as this blast from the past bounced onto stage in their last leg of their UK tour, backed by a massive print of his childhood home where they practised as children. Sporting the ever classic London accent they smashed through their classics, from the cheeky and carefree vibes of ‘Heartbeat’, ‘Millionaire’, ‘Posh Girls’ (and even ‘In the Jungle!’), to the funky ‘Famou’s, the ever moving ‘This Ain’t a Love Song’, and even a well-crafted transition between ‘Elvis Ain’t Dead’ and Elvis hit ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’. From stellar shredding to energetic vocals, they had the majority of the audience on their feet dancing, singing, and competing to be the loudest side of the arena.

Finally, it was time for the main attraction… Olly Murs. As the audience were shrouded in the darkness one light beamed onto a lone figure turned away and dressed in white in the centre of the stage under white columned alter, before big screen panels zoomed in on a pre-recorded Olly at Church to the tune of wedding bells. With a dramatic turn and a small flick of the wrist to encourage the audience, the night kicked off with ‘Marry Me‘, the screens around the stage now covered in real and virtual white roses and Olly now surrounded by a variety of talented guitarists, backing vocalists, percussionists, trumpet and keyboard players. The first song sets off not only the name of his newest album and the tour itself, but the cheeky charisma that shines through most of his performances throughout the night, and giving him space to perform a plethora of boyband and swing style dance moves in front of a sway of wedding veil-covered fangirls. The bouncing rhythm then transitions perfectly into Elton John’s ‘I’m Still Standing’, showing his appreciation for his pop-rock predecessors as with several later songs in his set.

This was followed up by the surprisingly punchy and unpredictable ‘Best Night of Your Life’ where the diamond showering screens, flashing lights and thick textures and instrumentation heighten the drama of the earworm.

Next was a return to 2016 pop sensation ‘You Don’t Know Love’, where the audience members screamed as Olly thrusted and gyrated his hips and flirtatiously posed with the mic during a killer guitar solo.

The lights brightened up as the band prepped for the next song and Olly interacts with his in-person and online audience (as the show was also a part of a Global Livestream), met with thousands of screams as he states his joy at finishing the last leg of his tour in Manchester, before bantering about being off-the-table and a Manchester United fan (to hilariously mixed reactions).

‘Kiss Me’ with its gorgeous little synthesised keys and guitar motifs before it transitioned into Harry Styles’ ‘Watermelon Sugar’ with a perpetual amount of infectious energy.

Next up was ‘Right Place Right Time’ while cascades of virtual red rose petals and pulsing lights beamed across the audience. The song candidly reflects on important moments of our lives, whether it be love, friendship or career successes, and reminds us to enjoy and reflect on those moments in another excited pop anthem that rather reminds me of early noughties boybands. Olly’s abilities really shone here, not only showcasing his vocal talents, but also his ability to play the crowd, encouraging thousands of men and women of all ages to move their arm to the beat creating a swarm of rippling arm waves across the audience before the song ends how the show started… Olly under a dramatic white light once more before moving into the techno-pop ‘I Found Her’ with an accompanying video of his fiancé Amelia Tank.

After these songs, Olly proceeded to describe his initial version of the toe-tapping ‘Thinking of Me’, which was supposed to feature a talented rapper. Singing the song as usual, the audience suddenly began screaming uncontrollably before the amazing Professor Green rapped with and bantered with Olly on stage in an unbelievable moment.

The next segment of the evening was a touching tribute to his late friend and fellow celebrity Caroline Flack, stating: “I wanted to do something on this tour to dedicate something to her, a tribute to my lovely friend Caroline Flack who I miss everyday”. The eyewatering moment saw Olly discussing the tragic loss of his friends, and the importance of speaking out about your mental health: “If you know anyone that’s struggling real bad… please speak to them”. In a stripped back acoustic, Olly sung an acoustic and passionate version of Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ accompanied by an entire audience of bobbing phone lights and a backdrop featuring their times together. Similarly, his next song  ‘Dear Darlin’ ‘ was stripped back with acoustic guitar and backing singers adding to the sense of emotion as they sat together on the stairs of the stage in an almost campfire-like moment. The vulnerability in his voice was so touching that audience members cheered him on in support.

Moving back into his upbeat library, Olly’s next song ‘I Hate You When You’re Drunk’ was a hilariously relatable chanting anthem with a refreshing modern twist on the noughties’ bouncy pop party beat matched by the bubbles and champagne spills formed across the screen as he performed. Then he returned to a fan favourite ‘Heart Skips a Beat’, before moving into an fun cover of Rihanna’s ‘We Found Love’.

Then kicked off ‘Wrapped Up’ with sparkling screens and firework effects filling the stage with just as much light and energy as Olly himself. The song even included a quick-paced impressive rap segment, that was rather different to Olly’s usual singing style and originally sung by Travie McCoy. ‘Dancing on Cars’ showcased the vocal versatility of Olly and further added to the party vibe he had been building most of the evening.

Olly then offered the fans a chance to hear his wedding playlist and test his voice in a treasure trove of well-beloved party classics, moving through a compilation of ‘Celebration’, ‘YMCA’, Jackson 5’s groovy ‘Blame it on the Boogie’, power ballads like Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ and King of Leon’s ‘Sex On Fire’ (to which the audience screamed to as he he unbuttoned his shirt playfully), heartthrob 90s boyband Backstreet Boys ‘I Want It That Way’, and finally Lionel Ritchie’s ‘Dancing On The Ceiling’ before rounding off the theme of dancing with ‘Dance With Me Tonight’ encouraging a syncronised audience dance/sing-along whilst he and the backing singers harmonised. With building trumpet solos, pyrotechnics, gorgeous light effects and a final Freddie Mercury-esque pose on the centre platform, Olly exited the stage, with the crowd screamed for an encore in the darkness.

After teasing fans for a minute, he came back out for his final performance dancing groovily in the white spotlight before a familiar guitar riff kicked off and Olly asked: “Manchester! Where’s all my troublemakers at?” thus singing ‘Troublemaker’. By this point in the show, the lyrics “getting sweaty, hot and heavy in the crowd now” couldn’t be any more relatable as the entire audience participated in funny dances, jumping and arm swaying in union with Olly. With a fun collage of dance moves, colours and audience participation, amazing vocals and more he finished the show at its peak showering the fans with confetti before stripping off his shirt in a cheeky gesture to the audience and exiting in the fade to black.

His energetic charisma as a performer, the kind-hearted and grounded way in which he speaks to the audience, and his versatility as a singer made the concert an unforgettable evening for new and old fans alike- and on the plus side, I guess Manchester is married to Olly now!

Olly Murs will be touring various locations across the UK from 21st April – 28th August 2023 and is album Marry Me is available on Spotify now.

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