SALTBURN-raised singer-songwriter James Arthur put on a stellar show for fans in Newcastle.

It’s hard to believe its five years since the Middlesbrough lad won the hearts of the nation and was crowned the winner of the X Factor.

One could be forgiven for expecting this show to be mediocre with lots of adlibbing to backing tracks but this couldn’t have been further from the truth.

Loading article content

Back with a story to tell, new music to share and fellow X Factor finalist Ella Henderson in tow, this show was a real treat.

James Arthur knew exactly how to work the crowd with the help of an incredible live band and soulful backing singers.

Huge applause roared as the 29-year-old talented singer kicked-off with his redemption song, Back from The Edge, the title track from his second studio album.

The comeback kid who was famously dropped by Simon Cowell’s label Syco in 2014 following a few controversies has really turned his career around and he was quick to thank fans for their support.

“I never thought I’d get back here. I ruined the first chapter but I made it back. My family are in the house tonight, it’s a proud moment for me. Newcastle you’re the closest I’ll get to playing at home.”

Cheers rippled around the arena and fans sang and swayed along as the star delivered a hair-raising, pitch-perfect performance of debut single Impossible.

A retro stage setting of stacked speakers and vintage televisions, which aired black and white live footage of the show, added to the production.

As did red rose petals which floated down over fans as he sang an acoustic performance of Roses, his ‘favourite song to ever be involved with’ which he co-wrote with Emelie Sande.

Taking to a piano, under the haze of a solo spotlight, he performed Careless Whisper in tribute to George Michael, who he referred to as a ‘fearless pioneer’.

His ‘very good friend’ and tour support Ella Henderson joined him on stage to perform a new acoustic guitar-led track Let’s Go Home Together, which was written by duo. It was the perfect pairing which beautifully showcased their unique vocals.

James encouraged fans to make a heart shape with their hands as he sang a moving performance of Safe Inside, a song written for his sister.

Ending on a high with lively hit Sun Comes Up and big ballad Say You Won’t Let Go, the humble star once again showed his appreciation to fans.

“Newcastle, thank you from the bottom of my heart for voting for me five years ago on the X Factor and for being here tonight.

“You have helped me well and truly change my life”. Hats off to you James Arthur.

Marie Westmoreland