added: 8 Aug 2013
// gig date: 13 Jul 2013
reviewer: Anna Oliver
Jessie J is fast becoming a household name, gaining radio play almost constantly for the last two years, and more recently as judge of BBC1's The Voice.
I considered I knew some of her music and was aware of her confident personality, so I anticipated a strong performance at Eden. I wasn't however prepared to be totally blown away.
On the hottest day of the year so far in Cornwall, six thousand people gathered throughout the day, filling the arena before Jessie was due to take the stage at 9pm.
Earlier that week Jessie had pulled out of two performances due to vocal problems – she was due to support Justin Timberlake at Dublin's Phoenix Park on the Wednesday, followed by a performance in Paris on the Thursday. The Eden Sessions relieved ticketholders just days before her gigs on Saturday and Sunday, with a statement on social media confirming that they would go ahead.
Eden's charm is its intimacy, any realism of being a few miles from the featureless town of St Austell is removed, you're transported into an unpolluted, unique musical experience, with the performers' stage flanked by illuminated biomes.
It felt an electric build up to welcome Jessie out, flashing spotlights teased the crowds, as the whistles and cheers persisted.
Jessie made a dramatic entrance and delighted the crowd by opening with her huge hit ‘Price Tag’. It was funked up with drums and bass guitar lines not included on the original.
On stage the backdrop resembled a linked watch bracelet, in front of which stood tiered blocks covered in LCD screens, the footage adapting to each track and highlighting rhythms.
While paint splatters covered the screens, Jessie dedicated her second song ‘Who's Laughing Now’ to anyone who's been told they couldn't do something.
The artist delivered the shoulder brushes, hip gyros and finger flicks that have become almost trademarks, whilst skipping energetically across and between the levels of the stage.
Jessie teamed a fringed black minidress with heeled baseball boots. Sporting her new bold platinum crop, and unsurprisingly her signature huge gold hoops, her image matched the print on the promotional t-shirts worn by many a young girl in the crowd.
She held her hands high above her head making a heart icon to her fans, or ‘heartbeats’ as she calls them, which was copied and sent back by the crowd, and continued throughout the night.
Next came ‘Rainbow’. Jessie instigated coordinated crowd waves during the choruses, and added all the trills, runs, licks and dit-dit-dit-dit-dits, ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-bas that we’ve come to expect.
After a rousing performance of ‘Stand Up’, Jessie told of a childhood connection with Cornwall, having holidayed in Mullion for many years, and that returning felt special and emotional, as she fanned her face to hold back a tear.
That emotion was focused into her next song ‘Nobody's Perfect’. Jessie gave a sensational performance, really brought a blend of power and emotion into the atmospheric mix on that heady night.
Next we were to be treated to the debut live performance of her new song. Excitedly Jessie revealed she had recorded it in Los Angeles that very day. “I am really excited about the person it’s written for” said Jessie coyly before commencing ‘Square One’, a melodic pop track that also features an electronic rap line.
Jessie was visibly delighted to have treated us with a debut, but brought it back to reality by stating to the crowd “so many bugs keep flying into my mouth”.
Jessie then asked the audience to introduce themselves to those on their left and right. Many smiles and high fives resulted. A young woman to my right had travelled from Kent for the gig and appeared to be mesmerised by Jessie’s presence.
Now familiar with one another, it was time to dance. Jessie embarked upon an eighties medley comprising ‘I've Found Lovin’, ‘Ain't Nobody’, Mariah’s classic 'You Got Me Feeling Emotion' and ‘All My Love’ by Luther Vandross.
Jessie paused to drink water, giving us an insight into her recent vocal troubles “the doctors ordered me to drink more”. Numerous bottles of water with pink straws were lined around stage.
Crowd-pleaser ‘Abracadabra came next, and the crowd were bopping.
In another casual repartee with the audience , Jessie revealed that Eden was one of the most special places ever played, saying “I felt like the king when arriving into Eden and heard the crowd, I don’t know why I wouldn’t be the queen actually”. She had learned that her hairdresser had grown up in Cornwall so she’d named her the queen.
The tempo slowed down into ballad ‘True To Who You Are’, following which Jessie took a break.
The backing vocalists and band performed ‘Queen of the Night’ by Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson's ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’, including drum solo, and ‘Work It Out’ by Beyonce with bass solo.
Jessie returned with added swagger, giving out some frowned tough looks, and teeth sucking as clues to the next track. She’d changed into a black sheer outfit with and added a black long ponytail wig. In leather-look leggins, Jessie stomped into ‘Do It Like A Dude’, which ended with a guitar solo that saw the artist doubled backwards on her knees.
‘Work It Out’ continued the heavy beat, and featured a bass solo by musician ‘Smooth’.
She gave ‘props’ to all parents that had brought their children. There were some as young at three on parents’ shoulders, under-18s making up roughly 20% of the audience.
Jessie thanked all buyers of her albums, singles, t-shirts, those who have watched her on the TV, and even those that turned her off, before launching into one of her biggest hits.
‘Laserlight’ lifted the crowd off feet. Jessie jumped for what seemed like an age, and would have exhausted anyone not in her top physical conditions. With amazing control, after energetic routine, she slowed the song’s ending right down, her powerful notes filling the air.
In tune with the unique tone of the night, Jessie next performed 'Wild', the latest release from her forthcoming album, which features Dizzee Rascal and Big Sean.
"This has been a massive memory for me" stated Jessie, who's surname happens to be 'Cornish', nevertheless this was her first gig in Cornwall and now a landmark in her career.
The final song cam as no surprise as Jessie launched into ‘Domino’. The audience were coaxed into a mass intro, switching the original guitar intro for vocal lalalalas led by the backing vocalist.
Jessie J’s gig at Eden was an atmospheric night I'll not forget. This woman has truly spectacular talent, not seen in a British female before. She combines charm and congeniality with a grounded sensibility that will support the colossal career she deserves.
Amid illuminated biomes, a balmy tropical temperature, I was assumed into the most varied crowd in demographic, yet sustained a positive, happy vibe throughout with huge smiles to match the artist. Their positivity and mine had been fed from the nation's favourite 25 year old.
Jessie J you have yet another fan in me.
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