Jessie J made her long-awaited return to music with the release of R.O.S.E., four EPs each representing something different; realisations, obsessions, sex, empowerment. The month-long UK R.O.S.E. tour sees Jessie heading across the country and we were lucky enough to catch her on the second date of the tour at Bournemouth’s O2 Academy. With it being personally five years since last seeing the pop queen live we were excited about what the night was set to bring.
Tonight’s support came from Alice Chater, with it being a sold-out show the upcoming pop talent had all eyes on her. Suffering from illness tonight there were points you could see she was struggling but her determination to give her all throughout the set was inspiring. Her funky sound and stunning vocals were complemented with ex-Lawson star Joel Peat on guitars. Heartbreak Hotel stole the set, sampling Anita Ward’s Ring My Bell it was incredibly hard to not start singing along; even if you were tempted to sing the wrong lyrics! Having recently released her new single Hour Glass, this support slot came at the perfect time for Alice to expand her reach. We’ll definitely be keeping an eye on Alice for more of her catchy material.
As the time neared to Jessie’s stage time the excitement intensified, the crowd began to chant ‘Jessie J, Jessie J, Jessie J’ and everyone shuffled into their positions to get a prime view. Appearing onstage in a sparkly mesh top, Jessie was quite literally sparkling from the moment she kicked in to Think About That, taking from the Representation edition. This slow, piano-led track gave us our first listen of Jessie’s stunning vocals. Taking the time to introduce herself to the crowd we were told to make as much eye contact as possible throughout the night and to put our phones down to enjoy it. This wasn’t the first time we had some words of wisdom but more about this later…
Tonight’s setlist heavily featured new R.O.S.E. material but didn’t forget about the fan favourites which made many of the people in the room fall in love with her. A reworked version of Do It Like A Dude was slowed down but also sassed up with some added spicy dance moves. Splitting the show into four different acts, representing the four parts of her album it featured four different outfit changes all of which made us a little bit jealous of her wardrobe; a gold jumpsuit is now on our to-buy list. Since it was released back in 2011 Nobody’s Perfect has become an anthem, one of self-love and realisation that what you are is okay and you need to embrace it. When performed with her live band this gained a new dynamic, it’s special, so very special. Jessie’s vocals have got even stronger, leaving us speechless especially at points when she needn’t sing due to the crowd being so loud and overpowering. Showing how comfortable she now feels with her image when singing ‘I’ve forgotten what to do to fit the mould’ she let us know “I’ve lost weight and I’m okay with it!” we love a confident queen. Throughout tonight we were treated to inspirational speeches from the singer; “We have to have things happen to us to make us stronger, so don’t give up on yourself” followed the track.
It’s fair to say the R.O.S.E. album hasn’t received as much attention as the singer’s previous releases which tonight led to many of the newer track sadly being unknown by much of the audience. But this at no point stopped them being performed with passion, fire and a real sense of energy. We mean Jessie did say to the crowd that if you don’t know the words, just don’t even try as it can distract her so this was taken on board. The new era and quite different of Jessie J follow her two years away from music, something she discusses with the crowd candidly and openly; “From experience, don’t waste your time trying to be someone, someone else wants you to be. I’ve been there, I’ve done it and I didn’t make music for a long time because of it“. Usually known for her upbeat pop tracks which ignite singalongs, it was a night of reflection allowing us to begin to understand some of the struggles she’s faced and opens up to us throughout songs.
We feel it’s important to talk about some of Jessie’s incredible new material which was showcase lived tonight. Petty; a track which doesn’t frequent on the setlist often was dedicated to an audience member intent on ruining others nights. But as soon as the fiery track about a toxic relationship she had a long time ago kicked in, the crowd ignited and shapes were being pulled to the catchy ‘Petty, petty, petty ain’t the word for you’ chorus. It’s a song a lot of people in that room both young and old can relate to from some part of their life. Jessie’s new material is exciting, it’s fresh and honestly, it’s just real without any of the sugar coating. Whereas Easy On Me was captivating for different reasons as Jessie strutted across the stage like the power vocal queen she knows she is. Every now and then we all need to be reminded that we’re great and Queen is the empowering anthem to do that. ‘I love my body, I love my skin. I am a goddess, I am a queen’ being chanted back by everyone in the room had such power, it felt real and we all believed it. Jessie J herself knows she’s a queen too (one who loves hand gestures!) and it’s just a little reminder in case you forget at any point!
Later on, in the set came the most moving movement which reminded us just why Jessie J deserves every single bit of love in the room for her tonight and more. Stripping it right back a lengthy speech gave us a real insight “I took some time out from making music, I needed to find myself again” before continuing to show us just how important shows like tonight are to her. Singing, pitch-perfectly might we add; “I don’t do this for the fame. I don’t do this for the number ones. I don’t do it for anything but to share music that makes people feel good. I know you didn’t have to put me in your life but I did so thank you for each and every one of you tonight.”. Jessie definitely made all of us feel good tonight.
But tonight wasn’t a completely serious affair there was an on the spot song made for two young J20 drinkers, a couple on a date and even a happy birthday for a 10-year-old which led to a lot of confusion over what his name was. The riddle was solved in the end! It felt like one of the most intimate shows we’ve ever been to thanks to the great connection with her audience taking the time to get to know and interact with them throughout. Repeatedly thank her fans for their support, Who You Are brought most of the room to tears which Jessie J noticed thanks to her love of eye contact with the crowd. Telling stories about how she’s seen her fans grow up, thanking everyone for joining her on the journey at whichever stage. She also announced a little exclusive in that next year looks set to bring part 2 of Who You Are. WE. CAN. NOT. WAIT!
The final part of the show was what many fans had been waiting for; Masterpiece highlighting her signature, quirky vocals. Glory which saw Jessie sadly begin to suffer vocally as she explained she was struggling from jetlag from her recent trip. The ultimate party track Bang Bang, which got us all up on our feet, having that Friday night feeling with Jessie J letting us know that ‘You need a real bad girl from Bournemouth’, she definitely knows what the deal is! Closing the show was the ultimate power duo… Price Tag aka the song everyone knew even if they were just the plus ones which Jessie kept picking on during the night. It’s refreshing to see that even though she’s expected to sing it, it appears she truly does still enjoy performing her older material and it highlights just what’s changed in the time she’s been away. Ending the night with one of her favourite songs she’s ever written was Domino. Unleashing her best dance moves with her guitarists on board, they made their way in sync across the stage making it the ultimate funfest to finish on.
Jessie J is back. She knows what she wants, she knows who she is and she isn’t going to let anyone tell her how to behave. This is Jessie J at her finest, connecting with her band and everyone in the audience. We admire her strength to open up about her battles and falling out of love with music, we’ve missed her being on the scene but now she’s back and stronger than ever we can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Are you seeing Jessie J on any of her R.O.S.E. tour dates? Tweet us @CelebMix to let us know!