Jamie Cullum

Sunday, July 23, 2006
4:15 PM

Thetford Forest

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Jamie Cullum had the impression of a performer who didn't want what was to be his last UK show for around a year come to an end.

Benefiting from his lingering songs was a receptive audience at Thetford Forest on Saturday night who enjoyed a show that lasted over the two-hour mark.

The distinctive tones of Cullum drifted perfectly over the setting of the trees, the natural arena of High Lodge providing great acoustics on a pleasant summer even, that not even the occasional drop of rain could dampen.

Perhaps the audience of Blickling Hall who had seen Bryan Adams, Simply Red and Il Divo had a smoother admission to their concert - not suffering the indignity of having picnic hampers unceremoniously searched by security staff at the entrance - but the smaller Thetford Forest venue certainly won out in the intimacy stakes.

For Cullum and his fans it was delightful.

The singer and musician meandered with his band through his best-known pieces, underpinned by the great classics.

Twenty Something was alongside What a Difference a Day Makes with the occasional sampling of songs such as Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart.

This was a show that lasted well into the night, though with only a relatively small number of songs, each wandering off at tangents, meandering solos or interspersed with conversations with the audience. But the way Cullum expressed them made this most definitely a performance rather than just a series of songs.

These are The Days, Next Year Baby, The Wind Cries Mary and Under My Skin were well received but a highlight was the wonderful version of Elton John's Rocket Man.

What Cullum does is bring an amazing freshness to songs, whether they are the great jazz pieces or something more recent, all going down very well in a live open air setting.

As Cullum remarked, he felt “blessed” that he and his band were able to play in such a beautiful setting on a summer evening.

It was great to be there.

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