By Kate Connor (she/they)
Kate Connor describes her emotional experience at George Ezra’s recent sold-out show at Glasgow’s OVO Hydro.
Much loved English singer-songwriter George Ezra made his return to a packed-out OVO Hydro, filled with people of all ages, on 26 September 2022.
Having first seen him back in 2019, my family and I tend not to share many overlaps musically, yet, for some reason, George Ezra appears to be the one artist who can unite all five of us.
One thing that has always interested me about George Ezra is his writing process. For his previous record, Staying at Tamara’s, he stayed in a B&B in Barcelona for a month and kept a diary of his time there. Once he returned, he wrote his album from his diary entries of his time abroad.
Ezra had a similar plan for his newest album, Gold Rush Kid. He had planned to walk from one end of the U.K. to the other on the iconic Lands End to John O’Groats route and write his album based on his experience. However, lockdown nipped that plan in the bud, with Ezra subsequently forced to write Gold Rush Kid in London. However, Ezra still made the journey from end to end – and he made a documentary about it, too.
There couldn’t be more of a contrast between the underlying messages of Ezra’s two most recent albums – Staying at Tamara’s tells a story of being unsatisfied with where you are and what you have and deciding to run away from it. Gold Rush Kid, on the other hand, is all about appreciating exactly where you are. It is reflective of Ezra himself being in lockdown and having to write his album about something different than he planned.
As Ezra took to Glasgow to showcase his recent work, a wide variety of up-tempo songs and slow ballads made Monday night’s concert one to remember. Intermittently, Ezra would break to tell anecdotal stories about his songs.
At one point in the evening, he paused to recount the inspiration behind his catchy single ‘Green Green Grass’. Telling the crowd of a holiday he was on with some friends, Ezra recalled hearing music being played close by, before inspecting the origins of the sounds. Upon his investigation, the ‘Shotgun’ singer came across a massive street party full of dancing and singing. Ezra asked what they were celebrating, only to be told it was actually a funeral.
Ezra went on to say: “When they say this and you turn back around and take in the party, then it’s even more beautiful than it was before, and it still makes me smile to think of the celebration of life and the joy that was there. And the few lines I wrote in my notebook that night said, “Green, green grass / Blue, blue sky / You better throw a party on the day that I die.’”
The crowd erupted in excited cheers at the familiar lyrics, and we waited with anticipation to hear him play it. And in true Glasgow fashion – the singing was deafeningly loud.
In addition to the music, stunning visuals would play behind Ezra as he sang. A particular favourite of mine was during ‘Sweetest Human Being Alive’ when stars and moons hung from strings. It gave the feeling of Christmas ornaments – like a couple celebrating their first Christmas together. Hearing the crowd sing in harmony with Ezra – who stood backlight by a soft, warm glow – was magical.
Witnessing the audience light up the arena with phone torches during ‘Hold My Girl’ touched my heartstrings. Tears began to gather in my eyes as Ezra stopped singing to give us control of the concert; seeing him listen to us singing the lyrics of a song that means so much to me was indescribable to experience. Then, by the time Ezra got to his final song, ‘Shotgun’ – a fan favourite, I was nearly pulled into a makeshift mosh pit.
The spectrum of experiences a George Ezra concert can give you is second to none.
Third year English and Creative Writing Student.