THE Bridgewater Hall was the venue for the final concert of the year for Emeli Sandé, and what a year it has been.
Her debut record, Our Version of Events is the biggest selling album of 2012, and she’s collaborated with huge names in the past months including Professor Green, Labrinth and Alicia Keys to name but a few.
This year has been an incredible year for the young Scot, but with live performances as polished as this one, next year has the potential to be a whole lot bigger.
Looking fresh from her sell out performance at the Royal Albert Hall the previous night, Sandé emerged to a rapturous reception from the audience who seemed a rather eclectic and expectant bunch.
The capacity crowd consisted of all ages, including Premiership footballers, students and parents bringing their excitable children who were expecting the Sandé they’ve followed through her journey from chart-topper to R&B queen of the Olympic ceremonies. They were to be disappointed.
The show was one steeped in raw musical ability. The black outfits of everyone on stage, from the percussionists to the backing vocalists were an obvious attempt to avoid distracting anyone from the harmonious sound that immediately made quite an impression on the crowd as Sandé began the set with ‘My Kind of Love’.
The performance had a wonderful narrative, beginning the evening with more soulful, delicate tracks, all the while encouraging the seated and rather stiff audience to begin to stand up, sing along and dance. This engagement with the crowd was a beautiful aspect to her performance and showed that underneath the undeniable musical ability lies a kind, humble woman whose friendliness was acknowledged by everyone in the room.
“Let’s take it down a bit,” said Sandé, following a catchy, upbeat performance of ‘Daddy’. She then took a seat at her piano and told the audience, who by now were utterly encapsulated with her presence on stage, that she would be playing songs written by her idol, Nina Simone. This was greeted warmly by the crowd and Sandé did not disappoint. What followed was a sublime demonstration in vocal ability that Nina herself would have been proud of. Indeed, it even moved some more ardent fans to tears.
As the night went on, the atmosphere inside the hall changed somewhat, the subdued anticipation from the audience turned to awe, and the awe turned into adoration. As the show drew to the climaxing moments, the feeling in the crowd was reminiscent of a gospel church, with passionate fans waving arms and singing along to hits like ‘Next to Me’, ‘Read all about it’, and ‘Hope’.
Sandé thrived off this building of intensity within the crowd, and while it was clear the tour had somewhat taken its toll on her physically, she rode the crest of the wave of emotion and appreciation that was being heaped on her and her band.
The reaction to her final song of the night, her debut single ‘Heaven’ was indeed the confirmation that it wasn’t just Sandé who felt her performance ensured a priceless evening, her fans did too. This year has been an incredible year for the young Scot, but with live performances as polished as this one, next year has the potential to be a whole lot bigger.
Confidential was given review tickets by Mastercard in association with the Prince’s Trust and Nordoff Robbins.
Follow Maxwell on Twitter @MaxwellBirch
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