11 November 2012 (gig)
20 November 2012
Emeli Sande has undergone a meteoric rise to fame and well-placed credibility within this past year. Her album “Our Version Of Events” has sold more copies than any other album this year and since signing with Virgin Records in 2011 she has achieved three number ones with “Read All About it” in which she collaborated with Professor Green and “Next to me”, as well as her recent collaboration with Labrinth in “Beneath your Beautiful”. She also performed at both the opening and closing ceremonies of the London Olympics. These are only brief indications of her achievements as markers of a continually burgeoning career, as are the three Mobo’s, The Critic’s Choice Brit award and Q award for best solo artist.
After opening her set at The Royal Albert Hall with an intense performance of her song “Daddy”, Emeli Sande said to the crowd – “I’m playing at the Royal Albert Hall. This is it for me. My wildest dreams have come true.” One would have thought the Olympic ceremonies were most definitely “it” but with the atmospheric surroundings of The Royal Albert Hall, joined on stage with gospel choir singers and a full orchestral band, one got the sense that this was quite an important performance. Despite the venue holding over 5000, the seating arrangement meant that everyone got a clear view and the acoustics created an intense listening experience. Nobody was allowed in and out during any of the songs. What this meant was that nothing could be missed; there was no room for hiccups. Luckily, Emeli Sande delivered a flawless and incredible performance.
Each song of the 20 she performed on the set were openly and deeply personal, dedicating many of the songs to different people – her husband (who she married earlier in the year), her sister (who was in the audience) and her family. She also dedicated “My Kind of Love” to the Princes Trust Charity, of which all proceeds of the sold-out gig were going towards. She performed most of the songs on the album, including a sat-down piano rendition of “River” and “Clown”. She has said previously that the key to good song-writing is “honesty” and “raw emotion”, and her heartfelt lyrics and massive voice truly embodied this position.
As someone more accustomed to sweaty gigs in small venues that smell of beer and sick, this was somewhat of an entirely different experience for me. This isn’t to say that it was at all rigid – after performing many of her more emotional ballad-esque songs, Emeli broke into her first hit as a solo artist “Heaven”, the upbeat 90’s sounding club tune that she said she was “going to end this with the song where it all began”. This had an ecstatic and rather red-faced crowd getting up from their seats and dancing before she broke into “Read All About it” and was joined on stage by Professor Green, the first of two guest appearances of the night. After a wowed crowd foot stomped her back into an encore, she performed her and Labrinth’s recent hit “Beneath your Beautiful”. Labrinth joined her on stage, looking very dapper in a suit and bowtie and then played guitar to her closing songs. I’d heard on the grapevine that Labrinth was multitalented and he blended in with the band with ease.
Her Royal Albert Hall performance was soulful, classy and extremely memorable. I can honestly say it was one of the best live acts I’ve ever seen.
MasterCard has partnered with Emeli Sande to provide Priceless tickets and experiences at her sold out tour in support of the Prince’s Trust and Nordoff Robbins this month. www.pricelesslondon.co.uk