Craig David SSE Hydro, Glasgow- Four stars
IT IS 2017, and born again pop star Craig David is such a cult figure that his own drummer is wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the name of his 2000 debut Born To Do It.
If that strikes you as unlikely, you’re forgetting something: his incredible voice, which those of us at David’s first Scottish arena show in about 15 years are treated to unaccompanied at several points throughout the evening. I’d even go as far as to say that, when stripped of the cheesy house beats that characterised every early noughties pop song, there is little to distinguish David from the modern day pop juggernauts.
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Commercial success, telly humiliation and surprising comeback later – as presciently described in big ballad Rise & Fall, back in 2003 – Craig David seems older than his 35 years. He might have grown into his looks, but his white jeans and hoodie are straight of the 90s, making it difficult for his contemporaries in the audience to feel anything but waves of nostalgia. It’s hard to imagine Biebs standing for the vintage Top of the Pops-style pans, fades and trails of David’s video backdrop – or, indeed, his sped-up garage cover of Bieber’s own Love Yourself.
The 2017 edition Craig David seems keen to distance himself from his playboy image: on the most bizarre of the new songs, to a keytar accompaniment, he denies culpability for a pregnancy because that’s not his life anymore (“the whole thing must be a mistake, maybe she thinks she’s calling Drake”). But there’s no denying he’s at his happiest when bounding across the stage, blasting Fill Me In, What’s Your Flava or a triumphantly reclaimed 7 Days.