Having exploded onto the music scene back in 2016 thanks to his cover of Kendrick Lamar’s “These Walls”, and with a new EP due out next week, Moss Kena took to the stage a little after 7 to warm up the many who had arrived in time to see him. His set, which opened with “Square One”, was short and was greatly impacted by the backing track/instrumentation being considerably louder than he was at times, while a mass hand-clap started by the keys player fell flat with only a few people at the very front joining in. The highlight was easily his Kendrick cover, which allowed Moss the chance to how off his impressive range,but unfortunately, his then leaving the stage a good half a minute or so before the the music to his final track played out meant he left the growing crowd somewhat nonplussed.
Not3s was next up and quickly had the vastly growing crowd moving along to the music and, certainly in terms of the first few rows, had them following his every instruction, including shouting back “Oi! Oi! Oi!” when he yelled “Oggy, Oggy, Oggy!” during “Hasta la Vista.” Although he showed off some rather dodgy dance moves, his energy and strong vocal ability meant he closed out his time on stage with a fair few more fans.
Easily established now as one of the best and biggest names in British music, as the lights dimmed once more, the volume in the arena increased considerably as the thousands in attendance prepared for the main event that was to be Jess Glynne.
Appearing from the back of the stage, set out with a huge false iceberg, and accompanied by some impressive dancers and backing vocalists, the chart-topping, flame-haired star kicked off her set with the chart-topping bopper that is “Hold My Hand.” Dressed in white cargo pants and some sunglasses which only a few can and could really pull off, she thundered her way through the set, showcasing her incredible vocal ability via performances of material such as new album track “No One”, although she was, on more than one occasion, somewhat drowned out by her backing singers.
Opening up about her own struggles with self-acceptance, stating her belief that “Your naked self is your best self,” she then performed the beautiful “Thursday”, the venue suddenly awash – for the first, but not last, time in the evening – with lights from mobiles held aloft. While the passion she performs with on stage remains high, she does switch things up at times, and the Children In Need single “Take Me Home” is perhaps the one moment of the night that truly evokes heartfelt emotion from everyone present – Jess herself included.
Fan favourites “Rather Be” and latest single “All I Am” had everyone on the floor and those in the seats singing and dancing along, while the encore consisted of two tracks, “Right Here”, complete with an explosion of pink confetti, and “I’ll Be There.” As the final notes played out and the cheers and applause once again reverberated from every corner of the arena, Glynne bid Manchester goodnight, the audible delight of the masses she’d just played to only fading away a few minutes after she’d disappeared from view.
With a run of dates of this tour still to go, and recently announced as support for the Spice Girls next year, Jess Glynne tonight proved just why she’s so popular with both fans and fellow artists alike, and her star can only – and will surely – rise higher in the months ahead.