Review: Kelly Jones, St David’s Hall, Cardiff

Many of Cardiff’s venues were busy on Saturday evening with a World Cricket Championship in Sophia Gardens, Rhod Gilbert at the CIA and Take That performing in Millennium Stadium. However, there was only one real venue to be at and that was St David’s Hall where Kelly Jones, the lead singer of the Stereophonics was performing his solo tour.

Kelly arrived on stage at 19:30 and introduced us the supporting band, The Wind and the Wave.  This talented duo which consisted of Dwight Baker and Patty Lynn came all the way from Austin, Texas. 

From their opening song, Breathe It In, it was obvious that The Wind and the Wave were a talented duo whose vocals blended beautifully together.  Throughout their set, they performed many different songs embellished with stories from their time together. For example, It’s a Longer Road to California Than I Thought was introduced with a short story about a road trip from Texas to California. 

As they finished their set with the more upbeat Happiness is Not a Place, I loved the fact that Kelly Jones looked on, slightly hidden on the side of the stage and showed genuine admiration for his support act.

Kelly Jones of The Stereophonics performed his solo show at St David’s Hall, Cardiff on June 9, 2019Kelly Jones of The Stereophonics performed his solo show at St David’s Hall, Cardiff on June 9, 2019

Kelly Jones of The Stereophonics performed his solo show at St David’s Hall, Cardiff on June 9, 2019

Kelly Jones then took to the stage for his set, opening with a story from his childhood before singing Hurry up and Wait from the Stereophonics’ Performance and Cocktails album, which is to be celebrated in a concert at Swansea’s Singleton Park next month.

Using this tour as a way of playing some of the lesser performed Stereophonics songs like Rainbows and Pots of Gold, many of the songs were given extra clarity and intimacy with accompanying stories. 

Showing his musical ability, Kelly moved away from his usual guitar for the next couple of songs. Fight or Flight saw him on a small upright piano and was one of my favourite songs of the evening. With Stopped to Fill My Car Up, the other musicians took a break as Kelly played on the Grand Piano.

Another story quickly followed, with Kelly fondly remembering Stuart Cable followed by a performance of Before Anyone Knew Our Name. Another highlight was the song, This Life Ain’t Easy, But It’s The One We All Got, a track from the new Stereophonics album, to be released later this year.

Throughout the evening, Kelly was supported by the multi-instrumentalist Gavin Fitzjohn who gravitated around the stage between songs to move on to his next instrument. Cherisse Osei gave an energetic performance on Drums while Fiona Brice added some lovely touches on both Violin and Piano.

As the show neared the end of the evening, Kelly performed a couple cover versions including Help me Make it Through The Night, a Kris Kristofferson song, of which his dad used to sing to him and Stop Dragging my Heart Around of which he invited The Wind and the Wave back on stage to perform with him.

Kelly had the whole auditorium on their feet for the encore which consisted of some of the most popular Stereophonics songs including Maybe Tomorrow and finally Dakota.

For me, the awesomeness of the concert was its intimacy, something which the Stereophonics don’t get to achieve in their stadium shows. Undoubtedly. the memory of seeing a musician of the calibre of Kelly Jones up close and personal will endure for everyone who attended this special show.