The Southampton-based star returned to his roots on Friday night to deliver a spectacular show for his hometown at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton.
The garage/R&B star has become a household name over the past two decades since his rise to fame in the early 2000’s. Like it or not, Craig David has made a triumphant comeback.
Upon arrival to the venue it seemed bizarre that a popular DJ and MC such as himself would be playing to a fully seated audience. Seated dance music was definitely an uncanny combination, considering Craig has become renowned for his dance/rave hits. Although when he started playing classics such as ‘Ain’t Giving Up’ and ‘Fill Me In’, the crowd were on their feet and dancing to the restless garage anthems. It seemed a much different vibe than what I was expecting. Many of his hits are known to ‘go out to his ‘ravers’ – but there were certainly not many ravers present! Instead, the majority of the crowd were middle aged women and I found myself feeling oddly out of place as a young male.
Despite the venue and the lack of atmosphere, Craig David’s performance itself was impeccable. From his early days as the Artful Dodger to his new album ‘Following my Intuition’, he clearly hasn’t missed a beat. Pitch perfect throughout the set and accompanied by a fantastic band, its clear as to why he has become such an successful artist. His voice is still a fantastic instrument in itself, singing perfectly in key and then breaking into rapid freestyle raps, leaving many stunned at the shear range of talent. It is clear as to why he has such a long-standing fanbase having put on a truly remarkable performance.
The first half of the show consisted of Craig and his band of backing singers behind him. At times, it was obvious that a backing track was being used, although the crew were very much on point without it. Craig and his band were flawless throughout but often lacked audience interaction, although this did leave time for more hits.
The second half of the show was a solo DJ set which involved Craig rapping over various beats and performing covers but wasn’t nearly as entertaining as the first.
The Southampton show clearly proved to be an emotional one for Craig as his family were seated in the audience. His Father (George David) and Mother (Tina David) were in attendance to mark a special homecoming performance, which as performer clearly meant a lot to him.
The overall performance did not disappoint and to any longstanding Craig David fan it is definitely worth a watch. However if your looking for an authentic garage and dance experience then perhaps this is not the show for you.
Words and Photography by Joshua Latham