Jess Glynne performed last night at the Eden Project to bring this year's lineup of Eden Sessions to a vibrant and hugely energetic finale ending for 2016; filled with wedding proposals, a crowd based game of volley ball and immaculate performances of hit after hit after hit.
The lineup was supposed to include Wretch 32, but we still don’t know what he sounds like as due to unforeseen circumstances he couldn't make it. However, the other warmup act, in the shape of Jay Prince, did a pretty good job at amping up the incomplete crowd and had a few unique soulful numbers that everyone seemed to enjoy. The patches within the crowd were quickly filling in when the clock struck 9.00 as quite literally hundreds of new arrivals packed into the outdoor majestic and lush Session space - to bring the total number of attendees to this sold-out gig into the ballpark figure of over 6,000 people!
Jess Glynne Leaps onto Stage
From beginning to end, it was obvious Jess Glynne is a modern-day pop performer who actually sounds equally rich and powerful live as she does pre-recorded. Sound engineers deserve much credit for orchestrating first class instrumental recognition along with vocals that were crystal clear throughout the evening. The band's saxophonist and trumpeter were both sprightly in performance and their puff didn't whimper away at all throughout. A highlight was that the male saxophonist had some very interesting and rather creative dance moves with his instrument in hand; although we wouldn’t like to discredit any of the other members on stage from having some slick moves too. The bassist was notable in the 80’s Prince classic where the riffs kept on coming and, of course, the band was finished off with a percussionist, pianist and two background singers - one of whom looks deceivingly like Jess.
Jess was sharp, punchy and well timed - everything was arranged just as the performances are on her debut album. A lot of pop performers dilute rhythms and strip instrumentals: not Jess. From the get go we were treated to well known 'Don’t be So Hard On Yourself' and universally famous 'Rather Be' with its catchy strings. Then Jess sprung the sombre 'My Love' on everyone. With just her voice and a piano, it highlighted the beauty of her, at times, gospel-like vocals in creating atmospheric impact all on their own. Fittingly after this heartfelt rendition Jess brought two men onto the stage, with one presenting a proposal of marriage and thankfully the other saying yes! In fact, Jess offered to sing at their wedding; a commitment we’re certain the couple will keep her to!
Subsequently hit after hit kept on coming with 'Real Love', 'Gave Me Love', 'It Ain’t Right', 'Hold My Hand', 'Right Here' (better than the original), 'Love Me', 'You Can Find Me', 'Ain't Got Far To Go', (we’ve definitely missed a few) and she performed, towards the end, 'Take Me Home' with near every audience member holding their smartphone with their flashlight on in the air. One of the most memorable performances of the night was the acoustic cover of ‘Tears Dry On Their Own’ by Amy Winehouse. There was also a fantastically flamboyant performance of ‘Feel for You’ by the late Prince which saw several large balls filled with glitter bouncing throughout the crowd. As you can see from our photo, it made for festival eye-candy with the stage lighting illuminating them against the backdrop of the glowing biomes. In fact the staging was great, and from first seeing the IT getting set up by manic crew members, we thought ‘hang on a minute, haven't we seen this set before?’ To which the answer was yes, and after doing a bit of thinking, we remembered it was the same set as seen at her Glastonbury performance. What can we say other than great lighting effects that seized the engagement of the audience at all the right times.
This was yet another brilliantly orchestrated evening from Eden. Definitely one of the best and most memorable Eden Sessions we’ve attended. The intimate but spacious Eden venue was quickly turned into a party atmosphere with Jess Glynne’s feisty persona, sonorous vocals and a brilliant library of music to underpin it all.