Originally planned for May 2017, Jamiroquai’s two dates at the O2 Arena in London had to be postponed due to a back injury picked up by Jay Kay, the frontman, who certainly uses a great deal of energy onstage. As my friend and fellow gig-goer commented, one “can see why they cancelled”, as the show would not be the same with this vocalist sitting down. Besides his dancing and spinning, the singer (as well as others in the band) also demonstrated an impressive ability to imitate his recordings extremely well in a live setting, which is harder than it sounds, especially when you’re as good a performer as this vocalist, who is often reminiscent of Stevie Wonder but arguably as good at singing as the American soul man, if not better.
‘Little L’, ‘Space Cowboy’, ‘Runaway’, ‘Love Foolosophy’ and other pop hits flew by in quick succession, as well as the underrated hard funk-rock workout ‘The Kids’. The band, with instrumentalists who were also impressive, particularly on bass and keys, ended with ‘Virtual Insanity’, but not before playing several songs taken from their 2017 album, Automaton. ‘Seven Days In Sunny June’ from Dynamite was also present (apparently performed for the first time this tour according to setlist.fm) along with a classic from the same album, ‘(Don’t) Give Hate A Chance’. Another highlight was ‘Canned Heat’ which was, if one remembers correctly, mixed with extracts from Emergency On Planet Earth’s ten-minute epic, ‘Revolution 1993’.
Although often euphoric and, overall, great, the gig was not perfect. The material from Automaton was often, if not always, poorer than the older songs despite its futuristic sheen. It was not as interesting and not just because the prior material was more familiar. Also, one might lament the absence of such career highpoints as ‘Feels Just Like It Should’, ‘Stillness in Time’ and ‘Deeper Underground’. To be fair, however, the new material at the beginning of proceedings may have sounded bad because of possible sound problems rather than a deficiency in either the band or the songs themselves.
Proving to be so good that twice I left my wheelchair and started dancing for a few seconds, Jamiroquai’s concert was worth the financial cost and the wait. It seems like all performers achieved great things in general, both individually and as a collective. Despite some flaws, these results still deserve commendation.
Here's the video for the band's new single too:-