You know him from banging 90’s/noughties garage and R&B hits with Artful Dodger, cool club classics for the shell-toed, bucket-hatted nation, but how the melee of under 18’s in the front know his entire back catalogue is a mystery. There are hundreds of screaming girls causing themselves airflow restriction as the legendary CD takes to the Common People stage as the Saturday headliner in his hometown of Southampton. It’s clear he’s happy to be home as he drops straight in with original mega-hit ‘Re-wind’ and he’s lost none of his showmanship or vocal range in his haitus from the mainstream.
I’m sure more than a few of us are still baffled as to what Bo Selecta actually means, or why we should be saying it in a crowd, and it doesn’t help that the entire show predicated on Leigh Francis’ lampooning of the song and Craig David himself is being acted out all over the arena.
From behind his stacked mixing desk, the tell tale sounds of ‘Fill Me In’ elicit a huge roar from the crowd and it seems everyone still knows the words, for a mass rendition. Mixing in his own stuff with samples from other hits seems to be the raison d’être of TS5 (glad to find out, had no clue what that meant) as Whitney Houston’s ‘It’s not right but it’s ok’ is woven into the story and his energetic bouncing has everyone throwing shapes alongside him.
Yelling “You can take the boy outta Southampton, but you can’t take Southampton outta the boy!” CD scores big with a site-wide roar of appreciation – Common People is smack in the middle of the city, so this really is a home crowd reception.
‘Walking Away’ gets a new backing track from ‘Still Dre’ and a ‘No Scrubs’ excerpt leads way to a massive Bieber singalong for ‘Sorry’. CD might have the better voice of the two actually…
With a bit of Beyonce’s ‘Run The World’ and Robin S’s ‘Show Me Love’ CD really knows how to hook this crowd before busting out a bit of his own smooth classic ‘7 Days’, and calling out “It’s been an incredible journey… from the garage days of the 90’s to now” endears him to the over 30’s in the audience, who remember them fondly, or at least, shamefully. With one last Biebs sample (apparently his momma don’t like you, and that’s bad) and a heartfelt “I’m incredibly proud to be from Southampton” Craig David more than proves he’s worthy of Common People’s headline slot.
All photos © A. Hyams – Do not use without permission.