Sunday, 29 May 2016

Charlie Puth, o2 Institute Birmingham

Finally, a slightly less boring (I hope) post about music!

I love this time of year as it usually means gigs EVERYWHERE! The last gig I went to was The Vamps at the start of April, so I've been suffering from a bit of the old gig blues. Luckily, last Sunday meant that it was gig time again as I went to see Charlie Puth at the o2 Institute in Birmingham. I was super excited as it was my first time seeing him live and we got to meet him too!

We (mum and I, as usual) bought tickets for Charlie's gig as soon as they went on sale and a few weeks later, they released VIP upgrades. I opted for the special 'dressing room' package (cheers Maximum Pop for that Ticketmaster gift card I won last year haha) which basically meant having the normal meet and greet with Charlie, spending time with him in his dressing room and a load of merch - sounds incredible, right?!

Once we arrived at the venue, we had to hang around for a bit outside before being checked in. There were six of us with the dressing room option and another 30 or so with normal meet and greet, so we got to go in first. Soon enough, we were escorted through the venue and into Charlie's dressing room!

As we walked in, Charlie was already there just chilling. He looked different in real life, in a way that I can't explain. He was just so casual, to the point that mum didn't recognise him for ages haha. We spent a good 10-15 minutes with him in the dressing room as he cracked jokes and chatted to us briefly. One of the perks of the dressing room package was an exclusive performance from Charlie. He sang his new song 'We Don't Talk Anymore' and it gave me goosebumps - his voice was just as incredible in person as it is on record! Before we left his dressing room, we had time for a hug and some selfies. His selfie skills were a little questionable but he evidently had a great time snapping away on my phone!

selfie central lol

We were then escorted to the front of the meet and greet queue and had a professional photo with Charlie. The picture was emailed to us a few days later - how cute does Charlie look please?

cute as a button :)

After the meet and greet, we had to go back outside until the doors officially opened. An hour or so later, people with VIP were allowed in and those of use who had the dressing room option got to go in first, meaning we could grab that perfect spot at the barrier. As time went on, the venue filled to capacity and quite frankly I've never been happier to have a barrier to lean on (standing gigs get less fun when you're approaching your quarter life crisis hahaha). The atmosphere is always better down the front too!

Before Charlie came on stage, we were treated to a support act called Kloe, a 19 year old Glaswegian singer. She performed original material combined with some interesting dance moves! I've never seen a singer dressed so casually - black sweats and trainers - and whilst she didn't look like your stereotypical popstar, she definitely made a statement and let her unique vocals do the talking.

After the crowd started a chant, it was finally time for Charlie! He didn't make a grand entrance onto the stage, instead he casually strolled on and took the time to look out into the audience at the appreciative crowd he would be entertaining for the evening. The screams were already deafening, which boded well for the reception he would continue to receive as the night went on!

He opened with one of his hit songs 'Marvin Gaye' and it was evident from the moment he played the opening piano chords that we were in for a treat. Charlie proved to be an extremely passionate performer, wowing the crowd with his vocals and piano skills.

Charlie then went on to perform songs from his album Nine Track Mind. 'Dangerously', 'Some Type Of Love' and 'Losing My Mind' prompted the audience to do their best Charlie impressions. It was heart-warming to hear the audience sing along to every song, including those perhaps lesser known album songs.

snapchat of 'Dangerously'

In between songs, Charlie spoke to the audience and was charmingly awkward. He doesn't come across as cocky like a lot of performers do - he was in fact very humble and down to earth about everything. The fact that he napped before the show and came on stage with a bed head and wearing the same clothes as he did in the meet and greet says it all. There's no airs and graces, he is as he is and I love that about him.

Next up was 'Left Right Left', with his band prompting us to sway our arms from left-right-left as per the chorus lyrics. I turned round at one point and it was incredible to see the entire venue getting involved, even the people up in the balcony! 'My Gospel', aka my favourite song, was next and Charlie did not disappoint. It sounded incredible live and was made complete by an epic piano jam out at the end. Charlie is beyond talented and at this point it made me realise just how bloody underrated he is.

snapchat of 'My Gospel', the jam session

For the next section, Charlie took a seat next to his guitarist as he switched to an acoustic set. He sang 'Up All Night' and 'Then There's You', both of which were pretty perfect. There were times when Charlie himself didn't even need to sing because the audience were doing the singing for him - it was an incredible thing to experience and gave me goosebumps, it must have been mesmerising for him!

Whilst I would have been happy just hearing his own material all night, Charlie also performed a John Mayer cover. I'm not familiar with John's music but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Following that, Charlie performed his latest single 'We Don't Talk Anymore' which reminded me of our dressing room experience. Of course, this was a different version again, complete with his band and Charlie beatboxing! Seriously, his talent knows no bounds. Mum filmed the performance and you can see how overwhelmed Charlie is at the 3 minute mark when everyone sings back to him!

He also went on to perform 'Suffer', one of the most intense ballads on his album, which once again received a great reception. His supposed last song of the evening was 'One Call Away', which is one of my favourites. Charlie was full of emotion and performed his heart out. As the song came to and end, he took a bow before making his way off of the stage.

Of course, there was still one big song left to perform and the crowd knew it. They made sure Charlie had no option but to return by chanting his name at the top of their lungs - I've been to far too many gigs to remember, but the crowd reaction at this one is something that will stay with me for life. I haven't heard a reaction quite like it in such a long time.

Charlie made his way back to the stage for 'See You Again', one of the biggest songs of last year and one that has touched the hearts of many. He gave it his all during this song and it was a really special moment. I was so emotional during it and felt tears in my eyes, it's such a powerful song! Every word was sung back to Charlie which added to the experience. Unfortunately, the song came to an end all too soon and it really was time for Charlie and his band to take their final bow and leave the stage.

Charlie's gig was one of the best I've been to in a long, long time, Everything about it was perfect - Charlie's vocals are stunning, and combined with his incredible piano skills, he really captured my heart. The crowd reaction was also unreal. He commented a few times about how it was the loudest crowd he'd performed to, and whilst every artist tends to say that, I genuinely felt as if it could be true. Every word was sung back to him and the screaming, chanting and cheering was on another level.

It was also incredible to see such a humble performer take to the stage. Charlie was genuinely so thankful for his life right now. He spoke about how he's been in the business behind the scenes for a while, writing for other people, but to get to perform in his own right was a dream come true. His talent is superb and he most definitely deserves far more credit as a performer. I hope this is the first of many occasions that I'll get to see him live, as he is definitely on my 'can't get enough of' list!

Hwyl am y tro ✌️