Will Young - Hammersmith Apollo (21/11/2009)

David Spencer | Sunday, 22 November 2009

Will Young - Hammersmith Apollo (21/11/2009)

Will Young was the first winner of Pop Idol back in 2002, and although his record sales have dipped recently, he retains a strong middle-aged female audience. Tonight his fans have filled the Apollo and you can't imagine that there are too many present that didn't vote for him, more than seven years ago.

First they must sit politely through a very refined support act, called Phantom Limb. They almost have more members than Will performs with and they make a dreamy folky sound that is built around the vocals of Yolanda Quartey. She arrives in a remarkably expansive dress and after all the others, perhaps underlining who the star of the band really is.

But that would be unfair, because guitarist Stew Jackson co-wrote Will Young's new single 'Hopes and Fears' alongside Yolanda, so this is a band with obvious talent. But support slots are never easy and Phantom Limb would be better judged during their own headline tour in December, rather than battling against the nattering masses tonight.

The chatting soon stops when Will Young finally bounds onto the stage like Tigger on drugs, before slowly calming down and gaining control of a delighted audience. Songs like 'Your Game', 'Changes' and 'Tell Me The Worst' are sung superbly before a delightful interlude with just Will and the pianoman on stage. Together they perform a cover of 'Ever Fallen In Love?' and 'Everybody Wants To Rule The World'.

Previous tours have seen Will in larger venues with big dancing troupes and plenty of choreography but the subtler surroundings of the Apollo and a minimalist set suit him far more. The crowd is enthralled and although mostly female, one man loses himself during 'Leave Right Now' by shouting out twice "Don't do it Will!" His wife will be having words. Other pick out moments include 'Grace', one of his best songs and 'Friday's Child'.

The encore begins with another cover version, a fantastic version of The Box Tops' 'The Letter' before a hilarious introduction of the band, one of whom had been suffering from the runs apparently. There's perhaps no surprise with the rousing finale of 'Evergreen', and hardly a person remains seated. That single seems a long time ago now, and Will Young has grown considerably as an artist of course. Simon Cowell failed to spot it, but Will Young definitely has the X Factor.

Rating: 5/5