Review: John Newman, The Out Of The Blue Tour, The Crescent, York, June 30

MADONNA talked on Graham Norton's chat show of wanting to see the whites of her audience's eyes again, hence her Madame X residency at the London Palladium next January and February. That's her scale of down-sizing!

Likewise, John Newman, the unsettled Settle sound of soul, has had his fill of waking up post-show in yet another nice hotel. Time to put that flop single Ole and its faux Duran Duran video behind him too.

Newman has gone back to basics, to "have an experience", play songs old and new in pubs and small halls, travelling around in an old camper van, parked outside The Crescent on Sunday night.

This was a hot ticket, on an even hotter night, almost unbearably so, at the former working men's club, and seeing Newman burst out of the traps in such a compact space, too tight for his "Elvis dancing", must have been like watching Joe Cocker or Otis Redding on the rise in the Sixties.

The blond streak, the slick hair, have gone. Newman was in black T-shirt, hair unkempt, his chit-chatter funny, cheeky, unguarded and northern, as if he were indeed in a pub, his big smile almost constant. Except when he was being emotional too, talking of his love for his mum, his wife, how he has "not been very well in my life " (a reference to his on-going brain tumour).

Oh, the heat, the confounded heat, and yet who could leave for a breather when in the presence of that voice, so tender, so thrilling, so impassioned, riding high on the wings of his piano, guitar and drum combo as he sang "Burning, burning, burning"? Come And Get It, Blame, Cheating, Feelings,..this night was hotter than hell, but higher, sweeter, than heaven.

The promised new songs were slower, an affecting hymn to his mother, Mumma; the rumbling Hurricane, and after the inevitable euphoric climax of "the big one", Love Me Again, Newman peaked again with a lingering new love song to his wife, Stand By Me. This surely was the "missile that's waiting to explode" that he said in last week's interview he would be holding back for later. If not, wow, that song must be divine.

Newman has decided to "get out of bed, get back to my goals". At 29, his Wembley Stadium dream is surely back on, one exhilarating step at a time.