TWO songs into his Glasgow homecoming show at the OVO Hydro and Lewis Capaldi dutifully greets the crowd. “F**k, it’s good to be back home, it’s good to be back in Glasgow. This is where I live.”
He adds: “Many a time, I’ll be out, I’ll be walking the streets of Glasgow, and someone will come up and go ‘can I get a picture’, and they’ll go, ‘wit you doing in Glasgow, man’, and I’ll go, ‘I live here you f*****g idiot, wit else’.
You wouldn’t expect anything less from Lewis Capaldi – a man who named his debut album ‘Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent’. Since soaring to fame with 2018’s Grammy-nominated mega hit ‘Somebody You Loved’, the Bathgate singer has become as famous for his heartfelt, emotional piano-led ballads as much as his self-deprecating humour.
Both were on full display throughout his homecoming gig at the OVO Hydro – a show that sold out within seconds of going on sale back in October. From the moment he entered the stage to sing ‘Forget Me’, complete with confetti canons, propulsive drumbeats and galvanising choruses, the crowd were hollering back every word.
“We’re on a date, Glasgow”, he told the audience, before treating them to rousing rendition of ‘Lost On You’ – his voice raw with emotion. He was unable to keep a straight face for the whole performance though, joshing with the crowd for singing along too early in the song’s closing moments.
It’s all part of the singer’s charm, though – his gigs are half music, half Netflix comedy special. On this occasion, he delivered a series of health and safety warnings after he’d seen numerous fights incongruously break out down south, while there was a cheeky nod to a Glasgow football song as he sat 20ft in the air at a piano before the deeply moving ‘Bruises’. ‘Take that, Elton John’ he quipped after the performance. Of course, it was all very tongue in cheek, and if there was any disparity between the more sombre tracks and his self-deprecating patter, it proved to be contagious more than anything – a chant of ‘Oh, Lewis Capaldi’ to the tune of ‘Seven Nation Army’ didn’t take long to break out. After all, it’s hard not to like a guy who heard Noel Gallagher call his music ‘wank’ and responded by striding onstage at his 2019 Glastonbury performance in a t-shirt featuring the Oasis legend inside a heart.
It’s not all comedy though. Even though his humour is his one of his main appeals, his rise to bonafide arena star does make sense when you hear him sing; his voice is even better than on record – raw, gravelly and full of emotion, at times embellished with impressive ad libs. However, this doesn’t save the gig from treading into slower territory. Despite the high production value – the raised platforms, confetti canons, dramatic watery visuals – and the backing of his thundering live band, some songs merge into each other with their indiscernible melodies.
With his second album ‘Broken by Desire to be Heavenly Sent’ due to arrive in May, a number of new songs – “fresh out the womb” – were aired throughout the night, largely pursuing the same sound as his debut with some hints of expansion. Alongside ‘Heavenly Kind of State of Mind’, ‘Wish You the Best’, ‘Leave Me Slowly’ and the hugely popular Ed Sheeran co-write ‘Pointless’, the standout moment was the confessional ‘How I’m Feeling Now’. A candid reflection on his own mental health struggles, it was a goosebump-inducing solo acoustic performance that laid his emotions bare – you get the feeling it could certainly do some good if heard far and wide.
Naturally, it was left to the emotionally fraught ‘Somebody You Loved’ to see out the night. Before that though, he shared a sincere moment with the audience. “I want to thank you all so f*****g much for making this so special, for constantly showing up and supporting me. It genuinely means the f*****g world to me. I’m so lucky that I get to be doing this.”
Alone on the stage, he was nearly drowned out by the communal choir, letting them sing the chorus four or five times before exiting the stage – capping another memorable night for the singer-songwriter.