Image by: Maisy McLeod-Riera
Concert Reviews

Concert Review: How Is Calum Scott Only Human?

Where: Powerstation, Auckland NZ
When: 23 Oct 2018
Annie Fung
No Matter What (Live)

After completing a whirlwind of sold out shows in Sydney and Melbourne, Calum Scott landed in Auckland last night for his Only Human Tour at Powerstation. Since shooting to fame through competing in Britain’s Got Talent in 2015, Scott has come out publicly as gay. His debut album, Only Human, lends the spotlight to his personal experiences with fame, love, rejection, but also his coming to terms with it all. His debut performance in New Zealand was not short of messages of empowerment as he powered through the night with his signature soulful voice and some painfully honest lyrics.

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New Zealand up-and-coming band Alae opened the night with an indie pop set. Infused with a country twang, lead singer Alex Farrell-Davey’s vocals were easily the most distinctive aspect of their performance. From stompers such as Too Strung Up to the folk-inspired All Gived Up, Alae delivered an engaging performance. The four-piece is set to release their debut album Henry St soon, and they promoted the album by giving away a few copies of their unreleased record to lucky audience members through their set. It was a pity, however, that their performance was occasionally marred by feedback in the sound system.

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Calum Scott took the stage in an all-black attire with an unbuttoned shirt revealing quite the toned figure beneath (much to the audience’s delight). Kicking it off with the energetic Come Back Home, Scott’s unfaltering vocals radiated the entire venue. Maintaining this invigorating energy, he smoothly segued into Stop Myself (Only Human), a upbeat number about celebrating our emotions and letting it take control. Despite constantly making fun of his own inability to dance, Scott possessed a captivating stage presence by just simply being his natural, non-choreographed, self. There is something about allowing the music to naturally flow through your body that cannot be staged. Removing the microphone from the stand, Scott moved around the stage to make sure he addressed every part of the audience as he rounded off this upbeat segment with Rhythm Inside.

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The soaring ballad You Are The Reason brought about a change of pace and atmosphere as the audience echoed back the heartfelt lyrics. Unable to wipe the smile off his face when the song ended, he exclaimed to the crowd “You sound beautiful!", telling us he had not heard You Are The Reason sung back to him as loud as we had just did.

In the acoustic section of his set his emotive vocals shone through. Accompanied by just the guitar, Scott sung a rendition of Bob Dylan’s Not Dark Yet. As one of the most tender moments of the night, the quiet audience listened attentively as they bathed in the weight of the lyrics. Hotel Room, a heartbreaking ballad about a personal story of unrequited love with a straight man, was a highlight of the night, especially when an audience member penetrated the somber mood by screaming “Take your shirt off!” halfway through the song. Holding back his laughter with a grin, Scott was able to recover from the untimely comment and finished the song with grace. He did, however, cheekily say afterwards that the shirt may come off at the end of show.

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No Matter What is his coming out story, and the poignant performance of it last night demonstrated a type of fragility and honesty that resonated with the crowd. He prefaced the song by speaking about his coming out experience to his family and friends. Although his parents were immensely supportive, he received quite the opposite reaction from his friends. The ballad was emotional and offered a delicate moment of connection between Scott and the audience, as evident in the long ovation from the crowd. Scott, touched by the support, appeared to have shed a tear.

Scott finished the main set with What I Miss Most, a tribute song to his hometown Hull, and Give Me Something, an infectious dance number that he explained was the “last song” of the night. Leaving the stage and returning a couple of minutes later through the raucous chanting of his name, he admitted that all he did back stage was asking when he could come back onto stage. Ending the show with If Our Love Is Wrong and his breakout song Dancing On My Own, the Robyn cover that catapulted him to stardom, the night finished with a unanimous sing-along.

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Calum Scott’s Powerstation performance was an impactful one. What stood out was not simply his uniquely sonorous voice that captured the audience’s attention on the Britain’s Got Talent stage three years ago, but his ability to prove himself beyond that and have the courage to put himself in a vulnerable position to share his personal journey with others. Now we are all eagerly waiting for Calum Scott’s next visit to Auckland (so that he may fulfil his taking-off-his-shirt promise). 

Radio 13 thanks and credits Maisy McLeod-Riera from Castor and Pollux for all the images featured in this article.

More images can be found in the photo gallery further below.

Written By: Annie Fung

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