Hate to get all Ocean's Eleven here, but indulge me as I paraphrase: "You can't lose focus in this pop game for a second." Because, see, the general public's already lost sight of James Blunt; there are, as ever, new, improved distractions. "You're Beautiful"—the hit that launched millions of copies of Back to Bedlam from store shelves waaaay back in 2004—remains a showy bit of fake Rod Stewart, an admittedly athletic wooing device for hapless suitors worldwide. (Second single "Goodbye My Lover"? Not so much.) Homely, deeply-creased mug notwithstanding, Blunt's considerable vocal gifts should've been enough to keep him at the forefront of public consciousness for at least a couple of years. But unless you've been keeping up with the guy, he may as well be missing in action: Last year's All the Lost Souls didn't reach the same sales heights—perhaps due to the then-sales war between 50 Cent and Kanye West—or spawn any inescapable monster singles. Doesn't fan loyalty count for anything in 2008? That's a question we can answer once the tour receipts have been counted. Opening for Sheryl Crow.
Sat., Aug. 9, 8 p.m., 2008