Olly Murs, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, August 23, 2023

Review and photos by Dave Lawrence

AFTER a two-month long break in the singer’s Marry Me tour, during which he actually did get married, Olly Murs returned to Scarborough’s Open Air Theatre last night to wrap up the summer’s series of shows at the venue.

Murs is something of a regular to the town, this being his fourth show in the North Bay, and to no-one’s surprise he went down a storm again with his latest spectacular show.

It’s a by-product of me getting older but I swear Olly Murs hasn’t been around all that long. In fact he has seven studio albums to his name since breaking through on the X-Factor show in 2009.

Before the main event though Scouting For Girls, led by the Tiggerish keyboardist and vocalist Roy Stride, delivered a perfect opening set. They were lively and enthusiastic running through a half hour that included Wish I Was James Bond, It Ain’t About You, and culminating in She’s So Lovely.

They have a new album out in the autumn and will be visiting York for a show at the Barbican – they are well worth catching.

The staging of Murs’ show is themed around a wedding with the singer appearing dressed in black atop a set of white stairs with his band smartly dressed in pastel blue suits with roses in their buttonholes. Excellent lighting and a large video screen were augmented by some dazzling visual effects that ensured no matter where you were located in the venue you had a great view.

York Press: What a showman - Olly Murs at Scarborough. Photo by Dave LawrenceWhat a showman - Olly Murs at Scarborough. Photo by Dave Lawrence (Image: Dave Lawrence)

The high tempo show began with Marry Me which segued into Elton John’s I’m Still Standing after which Murs, back to the audience playfully tossed a bouquet into them. Popularist certainly, but it definitely got the evening off to a fine start setting the tone for his energetic performance.

Another song from the Marry Me album, Best Night Of Your Life, followed before he delved back a few years to 2016, and You Don’t Know Love, before addressing the audience for the first time.

Murs’ affable, chatty persona was on full display as he introduced Thinking Of Me confessing he had the best view in the arena, looking out to the audience. He said he was still amazed that 14 years after his X-Factor success he was still seeing younger fans at his shows, highlighting the case of a young fan, Faith, sitting on her mother’s shoulders who said she was seven and seemed to be having a great time.


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There was an inevitable singalong to Sweet Caroline, a song I’d be quite happy to never hear again given its tedious appearance at seemingly any public event, but Murs’ emotional dedication of the song to his late friend Caroline Flack gave the song an added poignancy and had the sell-out audience singing along at the top of their voices.

Other high spots included Dear Darlin’ during which Murs ventured down into the audience, a catchy I Hate You When You’re Drunk and Heart Skips a Beat.

Murs halted Dancing On Cars prematurely to allow the venue staff to deal with a medical emergency and coolly ad-libbed for a while before restarting the show after reassurances all was well.

York Press: Murs entertaining the crowds at the Scarborough Open Air Theatre. Photo by Dave LawrenceMurs entertaining the crowds at the Scarborough Open Air Theatre. Photo by Dave Lawrence (Image: Dave Lawrence)

The medley of wedding songs he and his band covered near the end of the set was an absolute cracker and included Celebration, YMCA, Blame It On Then Boogie, Don’t Stop Believing, Sex On Fire, I Want It That Way and Dancing On The Ceiling and, unsurprisingly, everyone was dancing along both on the floor and in the seats.

Of course, so many covers meant that his own material took something of a back seat at times, but the holiday crowd in Scarborough didn’t seem to mind too much, especially as he finished the main set with Dance With Me Tonight before returning for a triumphant encore.

Another successful and highly entertaining summer of shows that offered something for everyone drew to a close with Murs performing his signature hit Troublemaker and left the crowd dancing and singing as they made their way out of the arena.

Hopefully next year’s line-up announcements will begin shortly and we can look forward to more amazing concerts right here on our doorstep.