Gig review: Jessie J- 'Her music was pleasant but rarely exceptional'
Castle Esplanade, Edinburgh
Thursday 18 July 2013
“Thank you so much for filling the seats and filling my dreams,” hollered Jessie J as her set in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle on a hot summer evening drew to a close, “I'm 25 years old and I get to do what I wanna do.” The lip was a-wobble and the voice cracking with the closeness of tears, and the sense was that this figure of hard-working aspiration and humble success was Jessie J – born Jessica Cornish, Brit School graduate and until-recently prime time reality television star of The Voice – at her best.
Before an audience very heavily balanced in favour of women and breathlessly excited young girls, the sense was that we were in the presence of a performer who deserves to be thought of as a role model. With her freshly shaved-for-charity hair (it was unclear whether it was just the stage lighting giving it a soft lilac glow) and a variety of different outfits including a monochrome culottes-and-cropped top combination decorated with a repeated eye motif, it was pleasing to note that she doesn’t feel the need to resort to the conventional bottle blonde and crotch-skimming minidress combination to look glamorous.
She broke off into chatter between songs, singling out individuals in the front rows to pass matey comments to or to promise signed T-shirts if they would join her in Big Sean and Dizzee Rascal's rapped vocal parts on recent single “Wild”. One amusing highlight came when she dedicated a glossy cover of Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” to all the security staff whose job was to turn their back on her. These interludes and an extended pre-encore break where she left her band and backing singers to jam through a medley of tracks by Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and Beyonce served to break up the flow and immediacy of the music somewhat, although they created a personable lack of distance between star and audience.
In the face of her vibrant personality, then, it was mildly disappointing to note that her music was pleasant but rarely exceptional. The opener “Price Tag” is still the stand-out of her catalogue and new track “Square One” was a typically glossy slice of contemporary soul-pop not a million miles from the perennial smoothness of her returning cover of Luther Vandross’ “Never Too Late”. Her finest moments were concentrated in the encore, including “Do It Like a Dude”, the pounding club beat of “Laserlight” and “Domino”, and the burst of emotional thanks which had the whole arena firmly on her side.
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days
Oscar voter speaks outfilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 Prince Harry leaving the armed forced to pursue conservation projects in Africa
- 4 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 5 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
Seinfeld is laughing all the way to the bank: TV show generates $3.1bn in repeat fees since final episode
Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl: First look at Oscar winner as transgender artist
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Justin Kelly interview: On James Franco playing a gay man who renounces his homosexuality
Fearne Cotton quits Radio 1 after ten years for 'family and new adventures'
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East