herald

Sunday 4 December 2016

Review

Arms outstretched, backside in the air, a mischievous grin on his face, young Olly Murs may be the most ridiculous pop star we've ever laid eyes upon. 'Twinkle toes' doesn't cover it. Blimey, it's a minor miracle the Essex lad doesn't trip over his own feet tonight. Even his bloody eyebrows dance.

"Never been better"? That's a bold statement, Olly. It's also the name of the former X Factor contestant's fourth album and tour. And you know what? It's true. Olly Murs, the cheeky-chappy heir to one Robbie Williams' throne, is the real deal; a reality TV success story whose star continues to rise. It's easy to see why.

All wound up like a Duracell bunny, Murs (30) has worked his ass off to get here. The man in the pork pie hats juggles wholesome family-entertainment smarts with something a little naughtier for the older, female admirers in the crowd. The dude's got soul. He knows how to funk. He's got some cracking choons, too, does Olly.

CHARMER

Stopping off for three nights at the 3Arena, this is a slick, multi-coloured, pyrotechnics-and-flames affair, with a suited-and-booted team of magnificent players at its centre.

Sure, everything has been choreographed, right down to the cheesy, chunky chit-chat (Olly proposes to Dublin; Olly promises to give us all hugs; Olly says he'll pop round our house later, etc.). But it's a testament to his skills as both a performer and a sugar-coated charmer that Murs manages to make such clichéd showmanship sound fresh and appealing.

Tonight, he's wearing a suit fit for cycling in the dark. And, he's got his own chant (do we need to spell it out for you?). Hop-scotching from heart-on-sleeve, chart balladry (Beautiful to Me, Dear Darlin') to proper swing and pop knock-outs (Seasons, Dance with Me Tonight, Wrapped Up) Olly cuts an accomplished figure in the vocal department.

A piano-assisted medley in the middle allows for our boy to cool down. "If you've just come back from the toilet, you're not at a Michael Bublé concert", he jests. Olly also finds time for a string of disco and funk covers - to remind us how he started, like.

One fan hurls a tricolour at the stage; another, their bra.

He thanks us over and over again for buying a ticket. Because, when it all boils down to it, Olly Murs is a really, really nice guy. And, he wears the expression of a man who can't quite believe his luck.

Towards the end, he teases his next career move. Clue: it involves a major presenting gig on the show that made him a star. Onwards and upwards, Mr. Murs - we'll be seeing you on the box real soon. HHHHI

> CHRIS WASSER

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