James Blunt Threatens/Promises Not To Play You’re Beautiful: “I’ve Already Got Your Money”

James Blunt – Spark Arena   March 6, 2018

James Blunt is a funny guy, “If you thought 2016 was bad – I’m releasing an album in 2017,” he tweeted last year.  He won over Auckland punters with his banter and cracking new sound from said album The Afterlove.

It was a mix of young and old seated in the stands and on the floor at Spark Arena, prepped for a melancholic evening before a cup of tea back home. Boy were they in for a surprise. Blunt told them the seats were just for their handbags, jokingly pointed out a couple still sitting, “I’ve got my f**king eye on you.”

Luckily local opening act Seth Haapu woke everyone up with an eclectic and electric five-song set. Serenading the audience like our own John Legend with the beautiful I Think I’m in Love, he then got his sexy on with some sultry and funky numbers.

But it was an out of nowhere cover of our quasi-national anthem Don’t Dream it’s Over, half sung in Te Reo, that brought a great cheer from the crowd.

Surprises were the theme of the night, with Blunt running out full tilt to join his four-piece band and launching into rocking versions of Heart to Heart and I’ll Take Everything. The latter pounded out of the piano while standing up.

The first sing-along of the night came with the second hit off Back to Bedlam, Wisemen. Asking the question, “Where are you now?” he answered himself, “We’re in Auckland!” to more roars from the audience.

Then the James Blunt comedy hour started, and I’ve never laughed so hard at a concert. Blunt backed up his Twitter game with some hilarious monologues.

He warned us, “There’s going to be a shitload of slow songs.”

And followed up with a threat – for some a relief – that he wasn’t even going to play You’re Beautiful, “I’m just going to play new shit all night, I’ve already got your money.”

He wasn’t lying either, the next two tracks were both off Afterlove, first the heartwarming account of his wedding Time of Our Lives. Part of his new sound is thanks to best mate Ed Sheeran and One Republic’s Ryan Tedder, who both co-wrote Time of Our Lives and both wanted Blunt to be more open in his lyrics.

It was more surprise when Blunt pulled out the political and catchy-as-hell protest song Somebody Singing Along. He said he didn’t tell the North American audiences it was about Trump.

It was back to normal transmission as the band left the stage and Blunt took to the piano for a goosebump inducing performance of Goodbye My Lover. His distinct raspy voice was almost drowned out by the crowd bellowing out the refrain “So hollow”.

While that and fellow Back to Bedlam hit High pleased the faithful, I was loving how the new stuff sounded. The reinvented polished pop of Afterlove came across like Maroon 5 with the dance rock infused Lose My Number a bass rattling thumper.

It’s killer tracks like this, Bartender, and Robin Schulz’s monster dance hit OK – which epically closed out the regular set – that has definitely garnered some new young fans and probably won over the older ones too.

But his latest still has the Blunt heartbreakers, with one of the highlights of the night being Make Me Better. Penned with Ed on a hilarious ski-trip, Blunt’s self-effacing humour was point. With lyrics like “You would wait for the phone every time I was gone”, his wife said it was the most romantic song Ed Sheeran had every written her.

Turns out his threat was an empty one as the first few bars of You’re Beautiful began and we all belted out, ”My life is brilliant, my love is pure.”

The comedy continued for the encore, he wanted to end on something happy but he said “I’m miserable” as he sat down to play the downbeat Don’t Give Me Those Eyes.

Then it was a boisterous Mumford & Sons styled stomper as Spark Arena stood up and sang the night out with Stay the Night, 1973 and Bonfire Heart.

 Near the end he climbed on top of the piano and took a photo of the crowd all up and arms in the air. Hell I’d want a memento too of a surprisingly hilarious and rollicking good night from a Brit back on form.

Clayton Barnett

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Michael Flynn:


James Blunt setlist:

  1. Heart to Heart
  2. I’ll Take Everything
  3. Wisemen
  4. Time of Our Lives
  5. Heartbeat
  6. Someone Singling Along
  7. Goodbye My Lover
  8. High
  9. Lose My Number
  10. Carry You Home
  11. Postcards
  12. Make Me Better
  13. You’re Beautiful
  14. Same Mistake
  15. Bartender
  16. OK


  1. Don’t Give Me Those Eyes
  2. Stay the Night
  3. 1973
  4. Bonfire Heart