Best Concerts of Sziget 2017 #5: George Ezra

There, I’ll admit it: I have basically no idea how George Ezra made it to number 5- I’m just as surprised as he would be if someone were to communicate this irrelevant yet sweet accomplishment to him. Yes, call me a buffoon over it: I am the one making this chart like the dictator of a South American puppet autocracy, absolute powers mingled with complete ineptitude and irresponsibility. The thing is, I gave everyone a grade from one to ten, like in the good old school days, immediately after the concert. As such, several acts received the same grade, and were thus to be differentiated later on somewhat subjective grounds. As I was juggling with concerts having the same grade, and fitting the pieces of the puzzle here and there, George landed at 5.

At first, I was somewhat (very) befuddled. This was a lovely 4 PM show on the Main Stage, but is it worth the fuss? The recognition? The fifth spot? The more I thought about it though, the more convinced I became that it does. George of course goes into the race with an almost unfair advantage, namely THAT song, yes, the one called Budapest. We knew it and he knew it: this thing right here will end with a singalong to that song and people will propel it to social media bedecked with hashtags, here’s #georgeezra playing #budapest in #omg #budapest.

That was settled then, but what about the rest of the afternoon? Well, the rest of the afternoon worked out just as splendidly- George really is the kind of singer who kickstarts the nicest English adjectives you learned in high school, perhaps in a lesson about ladies being awfully endearing to each other over five o’clock tea. He is charming, well-mannered, polite, makes good banter, is just as confessional as not to be intrusive, smiles a lot and looks like he just romped out of an IKEA catalogue where he was advertising assembling the Billy shelf, on which he keeps his vintage record collection.

There is evident magnetism in being this incredibly nice, as the crowd kept growing around the Main Stage- a lot of people were sitting down, some even lying, but everyone was facing the stage, and bobbing their head to the tracks. Slowly the whole area became one giant happy picnic, the kind of relaxed afternoon get together that best captures the old essence of Sziget- it’s a week of being together, doing things together, enjoying things together.

It’s highly likely that George himself was unaware of this, but walking around the back rows of his show, spread out almost to the Bacardi drinks area (to those unfamiliar with the island’s geography- that’s as far back as Main Stage viewing can get if you’re not doing the bungee jump) felt like a throwback to older, more simple times. And then of course he sang Budapest, and people were running towards the stage screaming the lyrics, or an approximation of those, at least: Give me one good reason/ Why I should never make a change/And baby if you hold me/Then all of this will go away. Except why would it go away, when it is perfect as it is.

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