Gig review: George Ezra at First Direct Arena, Leeds

IT IS safe to say that George Ezra has now reached the musical behemoth status.

George Ezra at First Direct Arena (PIC: Anthony Longstaff)

Even before his first-ever Brit Award for Male Solo Artist last month, the popular 25-year-old was well on the way given the huge success of last summer’s giant hit Shotgun.

It is, then, perhaps no surprise he is now filling arenas and living up to the hype.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

With two large digital clocks set at 6:59 and a ‘beautiful morning’ entrance voice over from BBC Radio 1’s Greg James, Ezra bounds onto stage in Leeds and gets straight into action with Don’t Matter Now.

George Ezra on stage in Leeds (PIC: Anthony Longstaff)

Get Away quickly lets his fine seven-piece band showcase their talents, including the fun-loving brass section that elevates Ezra’s deep, folksy tone even more.

Ahead of Barcelona, he explains how his random song-writing month in the Spanish city Staying At Tamara’s - the title of his second album - came about and then comes the upbeat Pretty Shiny People.

Dressed all in black and at ease with the audience with his conversational style, he could be singing from someone’s front room, all the more so given his set is staged with plant pots, lounge chairs and standard lights with 80s style shades and some imposing windows behind.

Clean-cut Ezra seems genuinely elated to be playing in front of a sold-out First Direct Arena (only last year he was across the city at O2 Academy) and this packed setlist does not disappoint fans.

George Ezra chats to the Leeds audience (PIC: Anthony Longstaff)

Hold My Girl is spectacular as the arena turns dark only to be lit up by around 30 lights that slowly descend from the roof out above the crowd.

Blame It On Me is a riot and the anthemic Paradise is a treat with Budapest taking fans back to where it all began. Or didn’t, as it happened.

But Shotgun, of course, is the obvious and perfect singalong last song to round off a superb evening.