George Ezra fans in Paradise: Revellers smitten by singer at sun-splashed Belsonic
Forget about riding Shotgun, George Ezra was very much in the driver's seat as he played to a sold-out Belfast crowd last night as part of Belsonic 2019.
For nearly two hours the charismatic English singer-songwriter took the Ormeau Park audience through songs from his two albums and by George did he deliver.
Don't Matter, the first single from 2018's number one album, Staying at Tamara's, opened the set, with the Belfast show marking a treble for Ezra, following performances in Dublin and Cork earlier in the week.
"You're sounding good Belfast," he told the crowd.
Ezra's second album was repeatedly described as 2018's 'sound of summer' so it seemed only right that Ormeau Park should bask in sunshine ahead of the 26-year-old taking to the stage and while there was an absence of bikini bottoms, there were lager tops aplenty among the excited audience.
With two bestselling albums and a number of top 10 hits already under his belt, he might be one of the biggest recording artists of the last few years but Ezra is also making a name for himself as a live performer and he took the Saturday night crowd through his collection with ease, dispersing personal anecdotes in between.
"To write the second album I was in a very fortunate situation and could take myself anywhere where I wanted for one month," he recalls.
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"And I thought to myself, 'Why stay in a hotel when you can find a stranger on the internet and stay in their house....' It wasn't till I landed that I thought 'why the f*** have you done this George?' My host was a lady called Tamara. I wandered the city and when I came home I wrote the songs. That city was Barcelona.
"So I spent a month in Barcelona and a few days into the trip I found this mountain. I'd spend my days there and it inspired the next song."
He then launched into Pretty Shining People, asking the crowd, "Don't we all need love Belfast?" to rapturous response.
A sprained ankle might have meant he wasn't as mobile as he might have liked but spirits were high among the 15,000 revellers as an upbeat Ezra accompanied by his brass band belted out hits from both his debut album, Wanted on Voyage, and his most recent release, with songs including Budapest, Hold My Girl, Paradise and Listen to the Man.
As the sun set another guitar change followed and he treated the crowd to a cover of Bob Dylan's Don't Think Twice, explaining he'd been asked to play it at a festival earlier this month.
A short while ago Ezra feared his career was over after a series of songs failed to scrape the charts - but he's now one of pop's biggest commodities and if last night was anything to go by, it's not hard to see why.
Catchy lyrics, an unassuming nature and charming persona make him one of music's nice guys.
"I could get used to this," he bellowed to the Belfast crowd during Shotgun, the show's encore.
And so he should because if the speed at which this concert sold out, and the love shown from Ormeau Park is anything to go by, then Ezra's current reign looks set to continue for the foreseeable.