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Issue 1083

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Craig David: O2, London 26/3/17

Craig David: O2, London 26/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com
Craig David: O2, London 26/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com Craig David: O2, London 26/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com Craig David: O2, London 26/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com Craig David: O2, London 26/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com Craig David: O2, London 26/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com Craig David: O2, London 26/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com Craig David: O2, London 26/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com Craig David: O2, London 26/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com Craig David: O2, London 26/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com Big Narstie and Craig David: O2, London 26/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com Big Narstie and Craig David: O2, London 26/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com Big Narstie and Craig David: O2, London 26/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com Big Narstie and Craig David: O2, London 26/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com Big Narstie and Craig David: O2, London 26/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com Craig David: O2, London 26/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com Craig David: O2, London 26/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com Craig David: O2, London 26/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com Craig David: O2, London 26/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com Craig David: O2, London 26/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com

No one would have expected this would happen a year ago. Even Craig David could have been forgiven for thinking his best years were behind him, a fact he fully acknowledged as he addressed the crowd at London's O2 Arena.

He was still a teenager when Artful Dodger collaboration "Rewind" topped the charts in 1999, becoming one of the most recognisable garage tracks the genre ever produced.

But fame can be fickle, and he endured some lean years before hitting the big time again when his latest album, "Following My Intuition" debuted at number one.

Now 35, he sold out the landmark Greenwich venue on two successive nights - no mean feat, and one which he clearly relished.

Support came from Lauren Faith, who co-wrote some of the material on David's latest album, and grime star Big Narstie.

The latter delivered some deep basslines and good humour ahead of the headliner and looked at ease in the huge venue.

As the lights came on for the main act, there were loud screams throughout the O2, and David emerged from the back of the stage to the very apt "Ain't Giving Up", showing an energy level that did not dip throughout the show.

His career is very much an act in two parts, and so was the show. Versions of "What's Your Flava" and "Fill Me In" followed, bringing with them memories of his youth - and that of much of the audience - in the early 2000s.

David has always had a good vocal range and strong flow, and the years have not diminished this.

His meteoric rise back to stardom was acknowledged ahead of his performance of "The Rise and Fall", a 2002 duet with Sting, when he said he was humbled to be back.

A Justin Beiber cover, "Love Yourself" was given a more soulful take, and he recounted how he wrote "Walking Away" as a 16-year-old nearly two decades ago.

There was a huge cheer, predictably, for "Seven Days", one of his most recognisable hits.

In recent years David has carved out a successful career as a DJ under the name TS5, and he promised that he would turn the arena into a rave.

During the second half of the show, decks set up in front of him, the speakers belted out an eclectic mix of garage, hip hop and electronic dance music.

Big Narstie came back onstage to perform "When The Bassline Drops", the top 10 hit that relaunched David as a recording artist able to shift records (or downloads).

The show would last nearly two hours, and was a lively showcase for a musician who's been down on his luck but has come back from it.

PHOTOS: DAVE BURKE
Words Dave Burke

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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