SINGER songwriter Rupert Stroud has talked about his experience of meeting James Blunt, as he prepares to perform at the Tour de France hub in Ilkley on Friday.
Rupert, from Ilkley, recently supported James Blunt at Dalby Forest as part of his Moon Landing world tour - which he described as an incredible performance by a brilliant musician and songwriter of worldwide fame and status, in a stunning setting.
"It was a beautiful, warm and thankfully dry night too," said Rupert.
"We had a tremendous reception from the lovely audience and I have gained loads of lovely new fans, one of them being James himself. He is a really lovely and intelligent guy. It was a brilliant experience to hang out backstage with him and the band and he gave me some invaluable advice."
He added: "He had listened to my sound and personally approved me as his support. James has a brilliant sense of humour and does not take himself seriously at all.
"His banter with the audience is very self deprecating and he gets everyone laughing with him and at him and yet he is able to switch the mood in a second as he pours all of his emotion into his songs. He is truly a world class act."
After the show, says Rupert, James invited him back to his dressing room for a few beers and a chat about life on the road for him.
He heard how men in the crowd are more respectful to James when when he is crowd surfing - which he did at Dalby - and taught Rupert a few tricks, including how to open a beer bottle without using an opener.
"We talked about all kinds of things he is not at all full of himself and is just one of the lads, which I guess goes back to his army days," said Rupert.
James Blunt has been on the Moon Landing Tour since December 2013, and is leaving for Europe soon before returning to the UK later this year.
Rupert also met James' fiancee, Sophie Wellersley, who was backstage.
Rupert added: "James' band and crew were also brilliant fun and we had a good laugh about how James really likes the tour bus as he is the only one small enough to fit in the beds. Jame's parting words to me were " I wish you all the luck in the world Rupert, you've got a great sound and I'm sure our paths will cross again in the near future"