Barely into his first song, Joshua Radin walks away from his microphone and to the front of the stage. Guitar unplugged, he continues to sing and play. “Have no envy, no fear” the lyrics go, and fearless Radin completely silences the packed Academy 2.
Back to his microphone, he commences the introduction to Brand New Day. Immediately recognisable, he changes the arrangement of the song slightly so the melody seems fresher. These alterations from the recorded tracks are what makes a Radin concert so special. Well, there’s that and the way he talks to the audience…
Single Radin knows his audience well. His crowds seem to be a constant mix of loved up couples, single women and the less commonly sighted male. Playing to this, he launches into Anywhere Your Love Goes, describing it as a love song to the audiences he’d been missing whilst cooped up recording his latest release.
Throughout his set he borrows band members from excellent support act Scars on 45, with female vocalist Aimee Driver expertly taking up Patti Griffin’s parts in You Got Growing Up To Do, as well as adding new dimensions to Today and Tomorrow Is Going To Be Better.
There’s always a story behind each of his songs and tonight Radin is more than happy to share most. He fondly talks about being asked love advice from a friend’s ten year old son and reminisces about the anticipation and excitement of Friday night couple’s skating in his home town in Ohio. The audience listen to every word he relays before linking the story to his self-genred ‘loss of innocence’ song: The Rock and The Tide.
Towards the end of the night, Radin reinforces his decision to never be an artist who only plays songs from their latest release. In fact, tonight Radin’s played songs from across all four of his albums and we are even treated to a brand new track, In Her Eyes, a track penned for his sister’s wedding next week. He remarks how he’s not a regular wedding attendee, and casually mentions he’s only played one wedding before – humbly failing to mention that it was the wedding of Ellen Degeneres.
The main set concludes with another unplugged performance. Alone on the stage, he wanders freely performing a cover of Bob Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright. The song ends, Radin exits the stage. Cheers and claps fill the room and it’s less than a minute before he returns to finish the evening with Closer and Winter. Before leaving the stage for good, Radin’s last words ensure him another packed out crowd in the future. “Thank you so much Manchester, I can’t wait to come back”, he smiles.
Something tells me the Manchester crowd are already eagerly awaiting his return.