Review: Former pop idol Will Young croons up a storm
Pop: Will Young, Olympia, Dublin
Published 11/11/2015 | 07:00
If Simon Cowell had his way, Will Young would never have won the inaugural series of proto-X Factor franchise Pop Idol and might well be crooning for his supper on a cruise liner somewhere. But the former politics and history student overcame Old Waggly Brows' objections and swept to victory - a triumph he has parleyed into an impressively subversive career as an openly out mainstream pop star.
His individuality and talent were unmistakable throughout this sell-out Olympia show. Dressed in an unlikely melange of butcher's apron and David Beckham sarong, Young began by belting out bravura new single Brave Man facing a wind tunnel that spat confetti.
The performance was epic and impassioned, entirely worthy of an edgy track which has caused a stir for an accompanying video featuring a naked trans individual .
Young has cannily established himself as a sort of one-man Pet Shop Boys, blending playful, pleading irony and knowing camp and working with the best songwriters he can lay his paws on (producers on chart-topping latest LP 85% Proof include Ellie Goulding writer Jim Eliot).
Yet he was inevitably required to make concessions to the reality TV crowd that has stayed with him for the past 13 years, including a dinner party version of Light My Fire that had you craving a glass of wine and a plate of canapés.
There's also the issue of his sub-Graham Norton banter. He loves a good put-down, our Will - especially if he can wedge the word 'poo' in (as when playfully heckling a punter with the misfortune to stand-up as Young embarked on one of inbetween-song routines).
But while his various monologues offer ding-dong entertainment, they arguably detract from his best tunes, such as the Coldplay-esque Joy, performed as another confetti blizzard swirled.
More than a decade since he was introduced to us as reality telly fodder, Young has proved that ability and a determination to stand for something can bring you a long way. They may carry him further yet.