Live Review: Jessie J Professor Green Amy Meredith

16 March 2012 | 3:13 pm | Staff Writer

More Jessie J More Jessie J

Hordern Pavilion

Given a great mixture of audiences/genres and experiences with Jessie J, having a reasonably narrow choice for supports was somewhat curious. The boys in Amy Meredith were hardworking but almost entirely against the grain, while Professor Green got it over the line with his clear abilities (particular respect to the 'live' samples with Need You Tonight), but maybe a bit mismatched style-wise as well.

Pop singles are great, don't get me wrong, but what a lesson tonight it was in digging beyond them. Beyond these singalongs and experimental videos (doing stylish freakdom that has a stylish Bowie-like integrity that Lady Gaga can only dream of), tonight proved that Jessie J's earned her place, most importantly, by having a great set of pipes. Generous in her approach and with an enthusiasm that was infectious rather than clichéd or patronising (often demands to get the crowd to singalong can turn into pantomime), Jessie J played to a mixed crowd of young teenage girls, queer devotees and garden variety pop fans with equal respect and good humour. The best example of this came at the end as she checked on a hysterical front rower, first persuading her to calm down gently, but then inviting her onstage to deliver her gift and sing Price Tag. Notwithstanding the fact that the poor dear looked like a rabbit in headlights (and sadly had a similar vocal ability), Jessie J ran with it, having already proven her skill and instead just embracing the reality that those who came to hear that particular track came because they wanted an excuse to yell the lyrics loudly with likeminded souls, rather than hear a virtuosic rendition from herself.

Of course earlier in the set we'd been wowed by Nobody's Perfect and Rainbow particularly (complete with a diversion into Bob Marley's One Love), as well as a great '70s styled version of Luther Vandross' Never Too Much and her own Abracadabra, plus a soulful slow stocktake moment with Technology. She even proved that jazz is no obstacle, scatting up and down to great effect around the corners of Mamma Knows Best. Even if these hadn't got you, the sweetness of having the littlies in the room singalong to Who You Are was infectious – yes, she's a popper who has made her money and lives the life, but you just know there's a kid in a bedroom somewhere getting the guts to go out into a playground with this in their ears.

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Liz Giuffre