Mid way through Tom Grennan’s headline set at Bedford Park, he pauses and says, “Hey Bedford, shall we make this a yearly thing?”
While obviously said with a little bit of jest, looking at the thousands of fans packed inside for the singer’s hometown show – you’d be a fool to bet against him doing this again.
Grennan was back in town for the second of this year’s Bedford Park Concerts series and headlining the venue he grew up playing football in.
And while he’s no stranger to playing in Bedford – after multiple back-to-back dates at Esquires last year to promote his chart topping second album Evering Road – Saturday night was by a considerable way his biggest show on home soil.
Despite this, Grennan is no stranger to walking out in front of a sea of fans.
In recent days he’s played BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend and at Warrington’s Neighbourhood Weekender and on previous tours, the likes of London’s Alexandra Palace and many other of the UK’s best-known venues.
Joining Grennan were four acts, all providing a mixture of pop and indie and giving the day a mini festival vibe.
Eden Hunter opened proceedings before Ella Eyre – who was playing before flying down to London to be part of the Jubilee celebrations at Buckingham Palace – followed.
Both did a fantastic job whipping up the crowds with their sets of slick sing-along pop.
They were followed by The Scruff and The Wholls – both familiar names on the Bedford alternative circuit.
Both bands put in faultless performances, but struggled a little to keep the energy of the two higher tempo pop performances which preceded them.
If Grennan had nerves about doing such a big show in his hometown, it didn’t show.
In a set which featured regular bursts of flames and pyrotechnics, he confidently paraded around the stage dressed all in red.
From the second he walked out on stage, it was clear he was having the time of his life, bounding around with endless energy at a show two-years in the making.
Grennan opened with If Only before powering through the likes of Something Better and Amen.
At every opportunity, he paused to speak to the thousands at Bedford Park.
There’s stories about proving wrong those who said he wouldn’t ‘make it’ as a musician, causing mayhem and being told off by his mum and being messaged by Calvin Harris about writing a ‘summer banger’.
Amid all the chat, it’s easy to forget about the actual music - which Grennan and his band perform to perfection.
Back-to-back singles Sober and Barbed Wire were followed with the first huge sing along of the night for Found What I’ve Been Looking For – which the singer briefly halts, only for thousands to continue singing its hook back.
Praise should also be given to the two BSL interpreters onstage during Grennan’s set.
The singer reminded people “music is for everyone”. It’s something which should be more common place at large gigs like this.
From there on in, it was pretty much hit after hit with latest single Remind Me and Little Bit Of Love edging the 17 song set towards its conclusion.
Towards the end of the night Grennan admitted playing Bedford Park in front of so many fans was a “dream come true.”
With his third album already complete, on the evidence of Saturday night, it’s a safe bet he’s going to be playing to audiences this big for years to come.
He bought the night to a close with A Little Bit Of Love, asking everyone to sing along to the song which “changed his life”, then proclaiming he’d see everyone in town after.
Grennan left the Bedford Park stage saying: “I love this town, I love this community. Bedford isn’t s***.” He’s not wrong.
Tom Grennan played:
This is the Place
Found What I’ve Been Looking For
Make My Mind Up
Don’t Break the Heart
All Goes Wrong
By Your Side
Something in the Water
Little By Little Love