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It is no secret that I am a huge Matt Cardle fan. I wanted him to win the X Factor because I thought he was an amazing singer back then and my feelings haven't changed one bit despite the fact he has hardly been pushed in to the spotlight unlike the third placed act One Direction. For Christmas my wonderful little sister purchased two tickets to go and see Matt Cardle doing his Letters tour live at the Liverpool Philharmonic hall on the 14th of March and this is my review of the night.
==The Venue and merchandise==
The gig was at the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool which is pretty easy to find with sat nav we found. There is a car park situated just across the road from the hall which is ideal in location really though it does seem to get full quite quickly and it isn't the largest I have to say. We paid £6 to park there for the duration of the concert which I felt was reasonable really considering how close it was to the hall and how it was manned as well.
The Philharmonic Hall is much like an opera house and not like your big arenas where I would usually go to watch music. The interior as you walk in is quite nice and bright and there is a cloakroom as well as toilets for both ladies and gents as well. Some brochures were being sold in the foyer as well as some sweets but the bulk of the merchandise and drinks were being sold further inside the building.
As you go up the main steps of the building you have entrance to the stalls where we were sitting but you could also follow the stairs round and go up to a bar area where the bulk of the merchandise were being sold as well as refreshments. There is a seated area where people could have a drink before the gig but this was very busy when we went in so my sister and I opted to have bottled water which was the only drink you were actually allowed to take in to the auditorium with you anyway. The bottled water cost £1.60 each which I thought was pretty reasonably for a place such as this.
There seemed to be just one area selling merchandise and just one person manning it and as such he was really busy. I think perhaps a full area downstairs too would have made all the difference here. As always merchandise is expensive with t-shirts costing £20, mugs £8 and so on.
Inside the auditorium was pleasant enough really and what grabbed me the most was the fact that this was going to feel like a really intimate gig because the room wasn't massive and as we were on row E I knew I was going to have a pretty good view as well. The chairs flipped up but were quite padded and comfortable but I would say there isn't a lot of leg room in between rows so this would perhaps be something to be mindful of.
The support for Matt was a girl called Roxanne who came on at around 7.55 and played until 8.30. She had a band with her and played the guitar so it fit in really well with the whole sort of ethos that Matt Cardle actually stands for. She sang some lovely songs and it was nice to listen to her although she had a tone of Janet Devlin in her as well and so made some odd little squeaky notes here and there!
==The man himself==
Despite entering the X Factor and winning Matt has never really been a fan of over the top staging and gimmicks much preferring a simple approach with his guitar and his voice. What struck me immediately was that this gig was going to be just like how he would want it and the stage was set up really simplistically with a few small tables here and there with bottles of water and a lamp and then the band equipment and his guitar and microphone. All previous concerts I have been to have been at an arena and so I was looking forward to experiencing a more intimate gig.
Matt came on the stage at around 8.55pm and the show started immediately with him singing stars and lovers from the album to plenty of screams and applause. What I love about Matt is how he seems so humble and that he just enjoys singing his songs and is grateful that people actually want to listen to him do it. This is really apparent during the show and he regularly tells the crowd that he is so grateful and what not.
Matt covers the bulk of his album, Letters, over the course of the show and there is only one missing and this isn't massively noticeable anyway. The songs are not pop music by any means but I am not really sure how I would categorise them. There aren't any breaks during the concert be it for set changes or costume changes! Matt simply stays on the stage and sings! The set stays the same as does his white top and blue jeans. I really enjoyed this as it felt more intimate and special that he was there on the stage the whole time and there wasn't any messing about at all. I would say "proper" music fans would really enjoy the experience as it is simple, no gimmicks and just all about the music. I am a fan of all kinds of music to be honest and most of the music concerts I have been to have been elaborate with lots of different staging, popping out of holes in the stage and lots of costume changes and I have to say with my hand on my heart I enjoyed the experience that Matt Cardle gave more because it felt so intimate, personal and real.
I can honestly say that Matt is completely flawless in his singing as well and I actually was telling my sister that he sounds just like he does on the album. My sister wanted one direction to win the X Factor and she is a real fan of them and whilst I really like them too (we are going to see their arena tour in 2013!) the difference in how they sound live to how they sound on their cd is massively apparent and I guess it shows that Matt won the show for the right reasons.
My favourite part of the night was when Matt sung the first time ever I saw your face which is one that he sung on the X Factor as well so people who watched the show will be familiar with his version of it. Matt actually sung the song originally for family when they lost a very close family friend and as he sung it last night you could see the emotion sweeping over him. It was beautiful to watch and flawless as ever as far as I am concerned.
The only thing which irritated me through the show wasn't actually anything to do with Matt at all. Before the show started my sister and I noted there were quite a lot of older people seated in the auditorium but figured they must be fans to be there! When Matt actually came on the stage obviously people got up out of their seats to clap, cheer and have a bit of a dance but the people behind us actually tapped my sister and told her to sit down! A lot of people around us stayed sat down where as the other side of the hall was completely standing and it was frustrating as I wanted to go a little mad!
The tickets cost my sister £31 each with booking charges and what not and I think this was a good price to pay for the night and the experience to be honest. Matt sings for around an hour and fifteen minutes which I think is plenty of time but I would have stayed there all night if I could. I would certainly go again if there was someone near to me who loved Matt as much as I do but sadly I don't think I will be able to make my sister go again next week! I would certainly recommend the show to Matt fans of course but I think other people would be pleasantly surprised at the fact that he is a proper musician who is keeping it real and about his voice.
Thank you for reading my review!
Very comfortable seats with plenty of room, and a decent view even from "the cheap seats", I like coming here for shows. The toilet facilities seem unable to cope with such large numbers of customers though, and the disabled toilet should be fitted with a RADAR key as I ended up having to wait for lots of able-bodied people to stop using it!! The restaurant downstairs is really delicious but they sell out fast so it can be disappointing.
They host a wide range of events, from university graduations, to classical concerts, contemporary concerts (eg Elvis Costello, Will Young, Van Morrison), comedy (eg Omid Djalili) and even host film screenings, and it's such a gorgeous art deco interior that I love coming here to see any kind of show. In terms of seeing films, it is cheaper than a regular cinema ticket, at only £5.50 on average. I'd strongly recommend a visit here to this unique, but multi-purpose building. It's exterior belies its beautiful interior design.