Sam Ryder was a jack of all musical trades before gaining TikTok notoriety and then Eurovision fame, so he has lots of experience to draw on for his first tour since the release of his debut album ‘There’s Nothing But Space, Man!’
What he doesn’t have to draw on is a ton of material but Ryder is such an enthusiast that he was easily able to bulk out his set with his infectious presence, inspirational chat and a spot of audience participation on new song “Mountain”.
Much of the rest of the show comprised the mixed material from his album. But if anyone can sell a song, it is Ryder, who bounded on, blonde locks flowing, in his spangly space suit, and launched into the catchy 70s pop vibe of “Somebody”, with powerhouse vocals to the fore.
Ryder is an expert vocalist. From Freddie falsetto to lusty lungpower, he made everything sound effortless, whether the commercial dance pop of “Living Without You”, his “featuring” hit with David Guetta and Sigala, or the 80s-influenced AOR of “Put A Light On Me”. He engaged the capacity crowd in asing-it-back competition, using ever more complicated and lengthy patterns, as a warm-up for sturdy rocker “Tiny Riot”, while “All the Way Over” became something of the religious rally, with hands raised as if for healing.
Covers corner, in tribute to his wedding band background, comprised the motley selection of Candi Staton’s “You Got the Love” (in the foghorn style of Florence + the Machine), Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and Paramore’s “Misery Business”, plus an encore burst of The Waterboys’ classic “The Whole of the Moon”. Ryder has yet to score a song as indelible as this but he was made a good start – and at this show, a climactic finish – with the soaring “Space Man”.