Fourteen years into his career, six albums deep, Will Young has earned the right to do exactly as he pleases. That he can do so while also filling a venue like London’s imposing Eventim Apollo is surely a bonus.
His latest album 85% Proof is something of a challenging listen to the casual fan, coming without the handful of obvious, radio-ready singles usually frontloads onto his albums. Instead, its treasures take time to reveal themselves. Thankfully, in a live setting the highlights from 85% Proof shine – even THAT marmite lead single Love Revolution (we always loved it, FYI, and after bringing the house down at the Apollo as a proper Northern Soul stomper, we’d imagine a few more people do today too).
This being the closing night of the tour, Will filled us in on the high and low lights of his cross-country journey to date, including the heckler one night who just repeatedly yelled ‘MUSTARD!’ at him – and the night he wet the bed on the tour bus (seriously). It made for welcome light relief between some bold, dramatic set pieces: opener Brave Man saw Will facing toward the wings, battered during each chorus with a mixture of dry ice and confetti like he was trapped in the world’s gayest hurricane. Likewise, on new album highlight Gold – a stark, simple ballad to rival All Time Love (one of the few hits not performed last night) – was one of the most beautiful moments of the night, accompanied as it was by a shower of softly falling golden glitter. He peppered these new songs with crowd-pleasing highlights from his back catalogue – perhaps the nicest surprise came when 2006 single Who Am I, not one of his biggest hits, emerged as the night’s loudest singalong.
Props, too, for Will’s unusual get-up: an all-black one-piece with huge, flared pants. “I look like an overexcited vicar in a cassock. With a bloody topknot!”