14 December 2015 (gig)
15 December 2015
During Beth’s sold out show at The Barbican earlier in the year (reviewed in Music-News.com) she announced that she was playing this solo gig at the Union Chapel in December.
The popular myth has it that she sold out the Union Chapel by the time she came off stage – I think it took almost a day longer.
When the doors opened at the Union Chapel – promptly at 7:00 o/c – the queue went around the block and once the place was filled the buzz going around the audience was positively charged and sparky.
When she hit the stage we were treated to the sight of Beth Hart virtually bouncing as she took her guitar and sat and squealed “Oh my God, I’m so nervous”. At the end of a nearly 2 hour set she told us all “Thank you so much, I was really scared but you made me so welcome, thank you, thank you” and I swear, old and grizzled as I am, that there was no artifice about it – the entire gig was an outpouring of genuine and heartfelt emotion. More than special, this night was truly memorable.
Beth Hart’s reputation has been rising in leaps and bounds over the last few years and her special style of music – outpourings of heartfelt emotion coupled with amusing, and some downright silly, songs, crossing genres and making the listener feel everything thing she has been through – has built an audience that is fiercely loyal. Her work with Joe Bonamassa brought her a new set of fans but at her core is the music that tells her particular story.
On this occasion she had no safety net, no supporting musicians and nowhere to hide and as she turned out incredible versions of ‘St Theresa’ and ‘Laughing The Blues’ she told the tales of where the songs came from, what they meant to her and also real tales of her origins – the addictions, leaving home at 14, diagnosis of bi-polarity, the hard life and the better life after she met her, now, husband. The songs also tell stories – ‘The Ugliest House On The Block’ or ‘Tell Her You Belong To Me’ – but the emotional outpourings from the lady herself made the night.
It felt as though not one word was faked – and frankly if she was acting then she deserves to be in the movies – and when she started tearing up in the middle of ‘Leave The Light On’ the whole audience was there with her. I have never heard silence like the audience delivered to her in a North London gig and that silence coupled with her soaring vocals echoing around the Union Chapel just emphasised the emotion in her songs.
She has announced a tour for winter next year but it will be difficult for her to top this one – the audience called her back for two genuine encores and if she had carried on playing they would probably still be there, rapt.
Photo by Laurence Harvey