Review: Olly Murs, Thetford Forest

The final act for this year’s Forest Live concerts at Thetford Forest’s High Lodge would be the cheeky chappy from Essex and X-Factor runner-up turned Xtra Factor presenter, Olly Murs. Fresh from playing Cannock Chase in Staffordshire the night before, Murs had brought early 2000s star Daniel Bedingfield along for both gigs.

The opening act Devon were also not strangers to the Forest Live gigs this year having also supported Anne Marie at Sherwood Forest, they brought their warm and light soulful melodies and vaguely Kooks like vocals with them, suiting the shining sun.

There was a tension in the air before Daniel Bedingfield came on to the stage while some people in the crowd with enough signal were watching the extra time that the England team were forcing fans through. However Bedingfield would have the privilege of announcing the final score to the whole crowd, to a mix of sighs and cheers.

Bedingfield brought a free spirited smiling set full of beat boxing, a cappella trips through the photo pit, messages of remembering to love yourself and his fantastic voice. Which all built the energy of the crowd and warmed everyone up with a couple of new tunes (he’s working on more after a long hiatus) and of course teasing the crowd on the way to 2001 smash Gotta Get Thru This.

Finally it was Olly Murs turn to grace the stage and close out a series of gigs which have been blessed with great weather in beautiful surroundings this year. He joined his band on stage as they played an extended intro to Change is Gonna Come, he worked his way down the stairs in the middle of the stage with a positive swagger and confidence.

Murs would then move into Wrapped Up, singing and dancing his way from one side of the stage to the other with a presence that was sure to get plenty in the crowd hot under the collar with Elvis like moves.

He described the set for this tour as a blank canvas to draw from the last 15 years, right back to the X-Factor days. A chance to play songs that mean a lot to him and songs that hopefully the crowd are going to love. And reminding them that when they come to an Olly Murs concert, they should be prepared to dance!

The packed out crowd were happy to oblige, clapping along, singing and dancing away in the forest, while he worked through several of his songs along with a couple of covers too. No doubt leaving the crowd thinking what a great way to spend a Sunday summer evening (especially after an England win too). Roll on next year!

Review and pictures Stephen Keable for Ipswich24 Magazine

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