The crowd was a mixed-bag, as you might expect as the winner of one of the biggest realty TV shows in the UK, but also one of the liveliest and energetic that I’ve seen at a gig. Everyone was there, from your next-door-neighbours kid to your aunty, which whilst it may sound like a weird combination gave it a unique and joyous atmosphere.
Supporting was Prince Latir and band, whose sound is a mixture of indie and hip-hip that seemed to resonate well with the audience. It was a toe-tapping thirty minutes, fairly different from Tokio when he came on but nonetheless the venue size and layout catered well to the difference in sounds and felt like a different place.
For Tokio the set up was a slightly raised podium in the centre of the stage, with him in the middle surrounded by his various instruments which had a cage-like, enclosed feel to it but really pulled focus to him and him only. Along with the lighting and background visuals which switched between bright colours and videos tailored to his songs, this all made for a very hypnotic and mesmerising set.
He moved seamlessly between tracks, effortlessly switching between piano and percussion – all the time bouncing off the energy from the audience who were equally enthralled and charged up by the electrifying performance. Despite the eclectic mixture of music perhaps more tailored to a younger-ear, the clear enjoyment and response from the crowd was a true reflection of his popularity and how relevant as an artist he is right now. It’s very rare to see so many different people in an audience who are all vibe-ing and feeling the music in sync with one another but he achieved this and the size, aesthetic and venue set-up made for a well-matched space.
One particular highlight during the show was when he played a new and unreleased track Animal, a high tempo electronic and bass-ridden tune that had people dancing and jigging about in their seats. The track was further from the classical leaning of some of his other tunes, but was met by a very excited and receptive crowd.
The reception from the crowd in general was one of complete enthusiasm and responsiveness to his every movement. As a performer, there was absolutely no doubt that the effort and soul that he put into the show was evident and a huge part of his likability, which helped to build up a good connection with the audience.
It’s a special thing to see someone in action making their music and the only way to describe the atmosphere when he was switching fluidly between instruments is that you could have heard a pin drop. In what is going to sound like a horribly lame cliché, the venue was alive with the electrifying atmosphere and the way that the whole of the O2 Forum was immersed in the sound and feelings that this brought made it the perfect place for such a varied show.
Another highlight was his rendition of Debussy’s Claire De Lune, which given the general age of the audience was met well and particularly since it was this track that stuck out as one of his crowning moments during his time on Britain’s Got Talent. One of the most noticeable takeaways from the whole gig was how well the venue seemed to change and adapt as he went from mesmerizingly beautiful but low tempo classical to heavy bass-ridden dance music. As the lighting and background visuals switched from calming to very fast paced and the sound to match this, the old theatre changed in vibe too. As the beats got quicker, the shared enjoyment from the audience was very apparent and as the music filled the old theatre and had the walls vibrating it added to the shared enjoyment in the audience. When he changed to lower tempo it suddenly felt extremely intimate and personal to the point you could have zoned out and felt like you were on your own.
It’s fairly well-known that when it comes to reality TV competition winners, not a lot of them make it past the first year of fame but I can wholeheartedly say that Tokio’s O2 Forum gig was a prime example of why he is here to stay. Everything from the friendly vibe in the crowd, his audience interaction, the venue that so perfectly catered to a varied performance and of course the music and talented guy himself was a treat and I’d highly recommend going to see this guy before he blows.