In a world where artists seem to constantly compete with each other for the most show stopping concerts, sometimes it’s nice to strip it back to the basics. Sunday October 14th saw Tom Odell, closely followed by his drummer, guitarist and bassist, casually walk onto a dark stage in Dublin’s Olympia theatre to 1,620 fans. There was no big reveal with flashes of smoke or appearing from under the stage. There wasn’t even dramatic entrance music; just Tom and, as he took his seat, his piano.
The title track from Odell’s soon to be released third album Jubilee Road opens the show and is greeted by an eruption of cheers. It’s a new song but little has changed since he last filled this theatre nearly two years ago in 2016 and before that in 2013. Whilst subtle style changes can be heard over the five year time span since his debut album, he has grown into his sound rather than changed it completely. It seems to have been a wise path to take as fans from the ages of 10 years old to 60 years old passionately sing every lyric back to him.
There is a common misconception that due to the nature of the instrument, concerts of piano playing singer-songwriters are slow and even boring. For this reason, pianists are few and far between in the mainstream music industry as of late. The most famous of their art are Elton John and Billy Joel. Both are icons but arose from an era long gone. Odell has added water to this drought and put an end to any misconceptions. In fact, his concert was one of the liveliest I had seen in a long time as the stage flooded with the energy of truly passionate musicians.
It is important to make sure there is varied mix of upbeat and melancholy moments as well as playing new material but giving the classics their time in the spotlight. Odell has mastered this skill. Exhilarating tunes such as See if I Care and Hold Me saw the previously perched on piano stool being tossed side stage as it failed to contain its owner climbing on top of the piano itself. In a contrasting tone, heartbreaking ballads including Heal and Supposed to Be created a sombre mood as they held the audience’s undivided attention.
A man of few words, Odell showed his love of Dublin through his downright refusal to leave the stage.
“Do you want to hear one more?” he asked with a hint of mischievousness.
Met with deafening cheers, his standard three song encore played in Belfast and Glasgow both previous nights transformed into an incredible forty minute set. Both classic and more obscure hits were played as well as the previously unheard Son of an Only Child and even an extract of Beethoven’s For Elise thrown in for good measure. The eventual showstopper, Magnetised left the crowd singing along to the nights soundtrack, waiting in anticipation for the release of album number three and, indeed, magnetised to Mr Tom Odell.
Odell’s third studio album ‘Jubilee Road’ is released on October 26th across iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, CD and Vinyl. Having been hidden behind movie soundtracks such as The Fault in Our Stars, If I Stay and on multiple occasions, The Vampire Diaries, Tom Odell is an underrated artist in every sense of the word. After his performance in Dublin and I’m sure on the rest of this tour, he deserves to be known as the talented musician and storyteller that he is rather than just the guy who sang the song on the John Lewis Christmas advert about penguins finding love.
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