credit: David Mark Bulley

Review: Capital Summertime Ball

Summertime Ball is a yearly gig held by Capital FM in London’s iconic Wembley Stadium. If you’ve ever been to a Summertime Ball, then you’ll know that it always boasts a stellar line up. This year was no different, with Little Mix, Ariana Grande and Nick Jonas amongst the many artists set to perform, so when the Ball was announced for June 11, we had to bag some tickets and check out the action for ourselves!

Before the show started, the crowd were warmed up by Vodaphone’s Future Breaker winner Ryan Lawrie, who delivered a confident performance of Shawn Mendes’ ‘Stitches’. It was a good choice of song, as it was enormously popular amongst the 80,000 strong crowd, and he should be very proud of his achievement. Accompanied by dancers and ticker tape, Ryan looked every inch a popstar on that stage.

Capital’s Marvin Humes also hyped up the crowd with his annual DJ set, which never fails to raise the excitement levels in the stadium. As his set came to a close, we were minutes away from the first act, and who better to kick off the afternoon’s proceedings than the incredible Little Mix?!

The girls sure know how to make an entrance – accompanied by male dancers, Little Mix appeared in black boiler suits which were ripped off to reveal their stunning stage attire, an array of monochrome outfits. They quickly launched into their number one hit ‘Black Magic’ before opting for ‘Move’, with a sultry twist at the beginning which really let Jade’s vocals shine.

‘Wings’ came next, which delivered the first full on crowd sing-along of the day. It must be an incredible sensation to have 80,000 people sing your song back at you – it certainly gave us goosebumps! Little Mix continued with ‘Secret Love Song’, with Jade, Jesy, Perrie and Leigh-Anne all getting to showcase their stunning vocals.

After delivering an emotional performance, the girls kicked things up a notch with ‘Hair’, complete with a fierce dance break down during Sean Paul’s rap. To end their set, they performed crowd favourite ‘Salute’ which was high energy and set the bar for the rest of the day.

Lukas Graham came on next, and delivered a powerful performance of their mammoth hit ‘7 Years’, which was once again sang word for word by the audience. The band continued with their next single ‘Mama Said’ and a cover of Justin Bieber’s ‘Love Yourself’. Not a single note was missed, and that speaks volumes with regards to the band’s incredible talent. Lead singer Lukas was absolutely charming – he came across as incredibly down-to-earth and seemed to be overwhelmed by the reception they received

The fabulous Years and Years were next on stage, with lead singer Olly Alexander taking centre stage for their four-track set. Their performance was strong, both musically and visually, especially when Olly was accompanied by a group of dancers. The set was made up of ‘Desire’, ‘Shine’, ‘Eyes Shut’ and ‘King’, all of which were crowd pleasers.

Jillionaire from Major Lazer provided us with a DJ set on the B-stage, made up of a mixture of his group’s tracks and some covers. Being one of the lesser known DJ’s that has graced the Summertime Ball stage over the years, we were unsure as to what kind of reception he would receive, however, the crowd (particularly in the standing areas) were bouncing along like there was no tomorrow.

Back on the main stage, it was time for The Vamps to rock out at Wembley. Opening with ‘Wake Up’, they certainly shook up the audience and continued to do so when they performed ‘Somebody to You’. Their latest single ‘I Found a Girl’ was next, before they ended their set with a crowd favourite, ‘Can We Dance?’. Brad proved to be a charismatic front man, who made complete use of both stages and the walkway, to ensure he reached as many fans as possible. In fact, he even got down into the crowd and was up close and personal with those lucky ones down the front.

Mike Posner was the next artist, opening with ‘Cooler Than Me’. He may think his ‘name’s a reminder of a pop song people forgot’, but the entire crowd definitely remembered this song! Armed with his guitar, he also performed the original version of ‘Ibiza’. The song’s SEEB remix is the most known version, therefore the song didn’t quite impact on the crowd as much as it could have, however, it was still enjoyed on the whole.

With a slight change to the expected running order, Clean Bandit and Louisa Johnson came on next for a performance of their new song ‘Tears’. Clean Bandit have performed at the Ball before, however, this was Louisa’s first appearance, to which she also debuted a new look including dyed purple hair. The summer anthem sounded great live and looks promising to be a smash hit over the next few months.

Following his debut last year, Nick Jonas made a welcome return to the stage this year with a three-song set. Opening with ‘Levels’, Nick oozed a slick sense of cool and the crowd were very appreciative of his performance. He followed with ‘Close’, which highlighted his vocal range before closing with his smash hit ‘Jealous’. At one point, Nick held his microphone out to the crowd and was serenaded by the crowd – his face was the definition of overwhelmed, as they sang every word right back at him. We felt a bit emotional as you could see how the crowd reaction had positively impacted on him! Sure sign that he needs to tour the UK ASAP right?

It was then’s turn to entertain the crowd. He opened his set with ‘This is Love’, a throwback we haven’t heard in a while but enjoyed thoroughly. ‘thatPower’ and ‘Feelin’ Myself’ followed, before he introduced Lydia Lucy to join him on stage. Having mentored Lydia on The Voice UK, it’s great to see that they’ve remained close and that Will is giving her some incredible opportunities. Though small in stature, Lydia has a massive voice and is great at adding her own twist to songs. ‘It’s My Birthday’ and ‘Boys & Girls’ were sung before Will re-lived some of the Black Eyed Peas’ best hits including ‘I Gotta Feeling’ and ‘Boom Boom Pow’. Will threw in a random medley including ‘Wonderwall’, ‘Seven Nation Army’ and ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, which proves that you can expect the unexpected when he’s performing! Closing with ‘Scream & Shout’, the crowd practically shouted the ‘You are now rocking with and Britney b****’ line at every given opportunity! Will’s set suffered a little bit from sound problems, and at times he sounded as if he was singing out of time with the tracks, however, he pulled it back at the end.

A ‘Breakers’ section followed, starting with WSTRN who performed their hit ‘In2’. They were energetic and put on a good performance, however, they received one of the quieter receptions of the day, possibly down to people not being familiar with the song. Pop princess Zara Larsson was next and proved to everyone why she is music’s next big thing. Her performance of ‘Lush Life’ was superb and she worked every inch of the stage. As she made her way to the B-stage, she was joined by MNEK for a stunning performance of ‘Never Forget You’. This was one of our stand out moments of the day, with the pair delivering excellent vocals.

Jess Glynne was next, rocking some space buns and a tinfoil-esque outfit as she opened with ‘Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself’. Her set was just hit after hit as she continued with ‘Real Love’, ‘Right There’ and a stunning version of ‘My Love’. She also sang the infectious ‘Rather Be’, the track which first brought her to our attention before finishing with ‘Hold My Hand’. Her set was a big crowd pleaser and she seemed to be right at home on the stage.

Nathan Sykes was the next performer, accompanied by a live band. ‘Kiss Me Quick’ was his first track and he delivered a great set of vocals with such ease. As he moved towards the piano, we knew it was time for ‘Over and Over Again’ and we had a feeling it would be something special. Not only did he sound stunning by himself, but he invited Louisa Johnson back on stage to duet alongside him.

We were a little bit disappointed that it wasn’t Ariana, considering that she was also a performer at the event and originally appeared on a duet version of the song with Nathan, however, as she had yet to perform, it was understandable that the honour fell to Louisa instead. We were seriously impressed with how great Nathan and Louisa sounded together and she did a great job of stepping into Ari’s shoes. As Nathan’s set came to a close, he sauntered around the stage confidently for a great version of ‘Give It Up’, showcasing his soulful vocals to the maximum.

DJ Sigala was next to entertain the crowd, opening with his number one hit ‘Easy Love’. Despite the fact it was raining slightly, the crowd were appreciative of the music and didn’t let the weather spoil their jumping around. Sigala brought out a few special guests for the rest of his set, including Imani for ‘Say You Do’. His biggest crowd reaction was received when John Newman appeared to perform their latest offering ‘Give Me Your Love’. The singer worked the crowd with his unique vocals and kooky dance moves, giving an incredibly high energy performance. Sigala’s set came to an end with ‘Sweet Lovin’ featuring Bryn Christopher, which kept the crowd spirits high.

Every year, Capital like to surprise us at the Ball, and they managed to do so once again this year as Dizzee Rascal was a special performer. He sang ‘Hype’, a new track of his before throwing it back to ‘Bonkers’ which was absolutely electric. The entire stadium knew the words, jumped around and were thrilled at the surprise moment!

Ariana Grande was the next artist and unsurprisingly, received one of the best crowd receptions of the day. Opening with ‘Bang Bang’ before launching into ‘Problem’, the singer was so appreciative of the Wembley crowd and even let slip that she would be returning to the UK soon with her solo tour! ‘One Last Time’, Into You’, ‘Greedy’ and ‘Break Free’ followed, with Ari serving some insane vocals along the way – she’s a pop powerhouse for sure. The crowd proceeded to channel their inner ‘Dangerous Woman’ as Ari chose it as her closing song. We don’t think we quite slayed her high notes but we gave it our best shot!

Flo Rida was next on the line up and boosted the energy in the stadium straight away with ‘Good Feeling’. He followed with ‘Low’, a classic track of his which got everyone dropping down low to the floor – the standing area looked great, however, us seated lot struggled a bit more to get down! Flo continued with ‘Club Can’t Handle Me’, ‘G.D.F.R’ – complete with soaking the crowd with champagne, and ‘Hello Friday’. In between songs, he made time to wish the Queen a happy 90th birthday, which we thought was cute. He continued with ‘Wild Ones’ before ending with ‘My House’, which ensured the crowd were jumping all over before he did a bit of crowd surfing.

As the night was slowly drawing to a close, it was time for Craig David, who received a rapturous applause as he made his way onto the stage. He opened with ‘Rewind’ and ‘Fill Me In’, two of his most classic hits which drove the crowd wild. He was another of the artists who truly looked appreciative of the crowd reception, particularly when everyone sang along. His newer tracks ‘Nothing Like This’ and ‘When The Bassline Drops’ followed before Craig delivered ‘7 Days’, another classic throwback. He continued with ‘One More Time’ before revisiting ‘Fill Me In’ again, this time remixing it with ‘Where Are Ü Now’. His set was a perfect mixture of throwback and recent tracks, which pleased the crowd greatly.

Unfortunately, after Craig’s performance, the night took a bit of an unexpected turn. It is no secret that Zayn was due to make his UK performance debut at the Ball, however, it was announced that he had pulled out due to illness. Shortly after, Zayn released a statement, citing crippling anxiety as the cause of his no-show. There was an air of disappointment and sadness amongst the crowd, which was to be expected, however, we entirely respect Zayn’s decision and his bravery to openly admit to his anxiety.

Whilst a few people left the venue early following the news, the majority of the crowd stayed to watch the final artist of the night. It was headliner Tinie Tempah’s job to close the show and he provided us with a dynamic performance which definitely lifted spirits in the stadium. Opening with his smash hits ‘Written In The Stars’ and ‘Pass Out’, Tinie made sure that the crowd were jumping around and singing as loudly as possible. He also treated us to no less than three special guests which excited the crowd, with Jess Glynne making the first appearance as the duo performed ‘Not Letting Go’.

Tinie got the crowd moving vigorously during ‘Miami 2 Ibiza’ before introducing Katy B to the stage for a performance of ‘Turn the Music Louder (Rumble). Zara Larsson was Tinie’s third guest, as they performed his most recent track ‘Girls Like’, which received a great response. Finally, Tinie closed the show with ‘Tsunami (Jump)’ which ended far too quickly for our liking! He was a great choice of headliner as he provided the same energy at the end of the show as Little Mix did at the beginning, ensuring that the show ended on a high.

Every year, Capital deliver a Summertime Ball to remember and this year was no different. It’s so hard to pinpoint the best bit of the day but Little Mix, Nick Jonas, Lukas Graham, Craig David, Sigala, Nathan Sykes and Zara Larsson impressed us a lot. However, we had a serious amount of love for every artist on the stage, and now we need a week to recover from all the singing and jumping around. We’re already counting down the days until next year’s show!

Did you go to the Capital Summertime Ball? Let us know by tweeting @CelebMix.






Written by Katrina Rees

I'm Katrina, or Kat to pretty much everyone. I'm an editor for CelebMix, a content writer, a boyband lover and an all round music fanatic.
Twitter: @lifeofkatrina