‘Pure emotion’: Dean Lewis makes waves at SWX in Bristol at packed-out show

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‘This is next level fandom’

I was weirdly nervous before this one, I guess after listening on Spotify to both artists. mainly Dean Lewis. this gig may take me a bit out of my comfort zone as both artists are different from what I usually listen to.

This I’m taking as a postive and not something to shy away from. So off I go, curious, early and ready to see what’s what and who is who. I had heard this was a sold out gig and when I got there the queue was never ending, it even had to do a weird loop back on itself so that it didn’t spill into  the nearby car park. And I wasnt the only early bird.

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Inside, merchandise was coming down from the shelves like the rain that tested my brakes on the way in.

Anson Seabra was going to be welcomed by the biggest crowd possible. People had all formed a force field around the stage as deep as the sound desk. Will I able to get close? I always get close. I squeezed on through apologising as I went and settled stage left and not in anyone’s way. Anson took the stage and the first inaudible screams of the night ensued.

The crowd clearly got here early for a reason. I quickly realised that these two artists were a perect fit. Anson took the stage as the screams died down and settled into wowing the crowd with piano ballards galore. “ You saved me” one fan shouted at the start of Welcome to Wonderland. 

For Unloving You the crowd gave him a backdrop of backing vocals any support act would die to have. Peter Pan Was Right  commenced and there were phone lights everywhere like this was the climax for the main act. There was a lot of love for Anson Seabra and im sure alot more to come.

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Dean Lewis certainly impressed during his gig at SWXDean Lewis certainly impressed during his gig at SWX
Dean Lewis certainly impressed during his gig at SWX

On to Dean Lewis it was. Usually a crowd nips off to the bar or moves around. Here nobody did. Everyone stayed still. There was no way they would lose their spot. This is next level fandom.

Dean bounces on stage and SWX explodes. The noise was deafening. This is the first time I’ve felt I’ve needed earplugs for the crowd, not the music. Dean jumps around stage playing anthemic, acoustic heartbreak lullabies sung with a smile. He makes sure each section of the crowd is given attention by picking out individuals - usually the loadest procalimers - and giving them a wave.

This nearly floors me as the girl next to me lets out a noise never heard before by anyone apart from her friends who then do the same! His whole set was a crowd pleaser. Playing all the songs! Lost without you, All for You, Be Alright all flying by but making someones night stand still. These songs came alive on stage. Old and new fit into one repeatedly.

Fans were full of appreciation for Dean LewisFans were full of appreciation for Dean Lewis
Fans were full of appreciation for Dean Lewis

Hearing them online was nothing compared to seeing the interaction and appreciation he has for his fans and seeing it reciprocated. A song like How do I say goodbye is a perfect example. Written as his dad got diagnosed with cancer. It was pure emotion, but one I didnt get until seeing/hearing/feeling it sang live. The crowd were in rapturous tears of joy for this one.

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“He is now in remission,” gets the biggest cheer of the night. One fan throws a note book with a letter from each one of their friends, and Dean is clearly touched by this and how couldn’t he be? Another fan throws their phone on stage for him to take a pic for them! Two things I’ve not seen before at a gig!

Dean shouts “the energy and the chaos has been outrageous tonight. I love you Bristol!!”. They fly off stage for the shortest encore ever and Anson Seabra joins then on stage to duet for a cover of Iris by Goo Goo Dolls.  He ends with Waves. I couldnt help but smile as the girls next to me sung every word with pure passion, like their lives depended on it; exactly what I did last week at Frank Turner.

With my ears ringing I cycled off wondering what had just happened, but feeling happy it had.

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