David Gray

The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan, Feb. 24

There was a lot more room to move around on this Friday night than in acts past. The large space, which has housed A-list performers such as Jay-Z and Morrissey, seemed an odd fit for the British singer/songwriter who hasn’t had a major hit in the United States since 2005.

Gray’s greatest strength, his voice, shined admirably on upbeat tunes “Please Forgive Me” and “The One I Love.” His ballads, which were many, also had power behind them as evidenced on “This Year’s Love” and “Ain’t No Love.” Dude sings a lot about love.

Gray, who is often compared to Van Morrison, gave him a nod in show closer, the Soft Cell cover “Say Hello, Wave Goodbye” with an “Into the Mystic” interlude. Needless to say, while Gray is very talented, it’s unfair both to him and Morrison to make that comparison.

But if AM Gold, the compilation of adult contemporary music from the 1970s that used to be sold on late-night infomercials ever updates its catalog, Gray should no doubt be included, often. Even his biggest hit, “Babylon,” had that “I could see my mother telling me she likes this song” feel.

Gray closed the show by saying, “It’s not easy being average.” He certainly was more than that, despite the size of the crowd. ★★★☆☆

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