REVIEW: James Grant and The Hallelujah Strings – City Halls, Glasgow

There’s a tangible atmosphere at Glasgow City Halls, a sense that this is going to be something special…you just know it…you can just feel it in the air..

In a place James Grant says has “a special resonance”, the place where Love and Money debuted “the best thing we ever did”, their 1991 album Dogs in the Traffic, James Grant and The Hallelujah Strings deliver a breathtakingly brilliant set, encompassing both Grant’s solo career and his years in Love and Money.

Grant himself seems to know how special this is, looking genuinely taken-aback at the audience reaction, the self-proclaimed crabbitness thrown to the wind as he declares this is “very much my bag”. It’s not only his bag, but everyone in this auditorium’s, there are collective murmurs of recognition, memories and anecdotes shared between songs, a feeling that it’ll be a long time before we experience something this good again.

Grant’s patter also belies the curmudgeonly exterior, the wry wit, that he promises to keep in check, but never quite manages, is incredibly funny. The smile never far from his lips throughout the night.

Grant’s songs stand strong with only guitar and sublime vocal but you can’t deny the lushness and emotional depth the 14-piece Hallelujah Strings bring to these carefully crafted gems. I Can’t Stop Bleeding is particularly fine.

The night is rounded out with a series of Love and Money anthems that have the audience on their feet and when Grant returns to deliver the blistering encore – culminating in Bowie’s Starman – no one wants to go home.

Arguably Grant’s finest hour – an undeniably five star night – we can only hope it’s not too long until we get the chance to do it all together again.