REVIEW: Craig David, Newcastle Arena

Craig David at Metro Radio Arena last night
Craig David at Metro Radio Arena last night

Where did Craig David go? Judging by this comeback tour it’s hard to believe this silky smooth star was absent from the top of the charts for all those years.

After a phenomenal rise to fame in the early noughties, which saw him become the poster boy for UK garage, there was no more meeting girls on Mondays and taking them for a drink on Tuesday for this Romeo pop star when future albums failed to live up to the success of his seven-million-selling debut Born To Do It.

He disappeared from the charts for a decade, packed up those iconic headphones, turned down the faders, and moved to Miami. But, judging by this tour, his first in 15 years, he has risen from the ashes spectacularly.

Nostalgia tours are big business these days, they’re all at it, but this was far from that: it was a slick show in its own right.

Yes, the old school hits were there and the crowd lapped up re-rewinding to the days of those sharp melodies of Seven Days, the sound-track to many a noughties teenager’s first kiss, Fill Me In and What’s Your Flava.

Even Re-Rewind - featuring the Bo Selecta line which spawned the rubber face Craig of the hit TV show - was given an airing. This is a man who seems at ease with the rise and fall and rise again of his career.

But the tracks which helped cement one of the biggest comebacks in years, such as Nothing Like This and Change My Love, were also performed with the same passion as if this was David’s debut all over again.

In a genre that is often over-reliant on technology and studio mixing, it’s easy to forget about the voice. But the comeback kid’s rich vocals and range really shine in the live arena.

Though he looks remarkably unchanged from his earlier years, with a perfectly-manicured beard, gleaming white clobber and box-fresh trainers, this is a more humble Craig David who seems genuinely thankful to be riding the crest of a revival wave.

“I never thought when I was writing Walking Away in my bedroom it would change my life,” he said addressing the crowd, hand on his heart.

Anyone thinking this would just be a walk down memory lane, however, would be wrong. For the second half of the show Craig got behind the decks for a TS5 section, in a nod to his house parties in Miami, which saw him mix tracks from the likes of Destiny Child, Drake and UK garage duo Luck & Neat with his own music

It may have been a damp Wednesday night in Newcastle but, standing just feet away from the decks, the cranked up bass pumping through the crowd, we could have almost been in the heat of one of those Miami house parties.

Don’t walk away again Craig, you were born to do this.