Benjamin Clementine Review

It’s strange how you come to love the things you love; and stranger still is how protective you become of something you hold terribly, terribly dear.

Benjamin, I first noticed you on TV, you caught me the second I saw you. Your songs spoke of more than pain and love and loss and love again; breaking tired conscripts and song structure, you built something new, captivating me in a way I’d never even thought existed before and you, left, me, wanting, more.

I make no secret of buying my tickets for tonight. I also make no secret that I’m a lucky man who gets guest invites to see more music that any man should but tonight I wanted to be there in your audience, on your homecoming and see you, in the flesh, brought real. And do you know what? Tonight I felt embarrassed Benjamin. I felt we let you down.

You were brilliant, you were humble, you were everything I wanted you to be. You spoke directly to me; songs brought to life better than they ever are on your album. You wore your pain, your hopes, your fears for all of us; looping vocals on a beguiling range, musicality spilling out of your piano and your soul, beating heart on your sleeve. And If I’m honest, I realise this is a transitional period between coming into public consciousness and all of us falling head over heels in love with you, So maybe, just maybe, I shouldn’t feel so disappointed.

I know that everyone here tonight bought their ticket before you won the Mercury Prize and so should have know better. I know you struggled with the overwhelmingness of it all, and that touched every one of us, but tonight we weren’t the fans you deserved but I truly promise you’re going to get so much more from your audience in the future. Hand on heart, we’re going to be singing every word back at you, we’re going to be living and reliving every pain in your sorrow, we’re going to be walking with you through Edmonton, Paris & London and in return you’ll be our song, voice and soul. We just weren’t there in force tonight. And I just so wanted it to be tonight.

There is one thing being a fan of exciting British music, hanging on the coattails of what people say we should be listening to or what is ‘hot for 2016’ is but there is another type a fan reserved especially for you. Tonight we were fan type ‘A’, one that feels like they should be seen to be there rather than one that wants, desperately wants, to ‘be’ there. I, however, am that other fan Benjamin and I will follow you.

I don’t know what the future holds but I really want to be in your company again next year and the one the after that and the one after that and I promise it’s not just me that’s going to love you for so very long. We just need a little time to find strength in number, our own voice and a way to show you our, love, back.

Thank you for a great night. It’s without doubt some of the best in live music I’ve ever seen and heard.  I simply cannot wait to share more of it with likeminded people; reciprocating our understating of your art and showing a willingness to be the audience you truly deserve. We’re coming Benjamin. I just hope that when we arrive, we’re better and you simply remain the same.

Tobin James

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