Nocturne Live returns to The Great Court at Blenheim Palace in 2023, and was once again bathed in sunshine. The birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and ‘the UK’s most beautiful venue’ was looking sublime and ready to party. Tonight is to be headlined by both Emeli Sandé and Gregory Porter.

First up though on this sunny Friday night was Tunde Baiyewu, best known as the vocalist of Lighthouse Family. He sang some of his solo songs and some Lighthouse Family classics, such as ‘Lifted’, ‘High’ and ‘Ocean Drive’. Taking to the stage looking summer ready in an orange shirt, Tunde seemed to really enjoy his time at the Palace, and took a moment at the end of his show to enjoy the applause and take a bow with the band. The crowd seemed to really enjoy his show, maybe forgetting how many hits Lighthouse Family had, and how easy listening it is on the ear.

Next up was Emeli Sandé, the Scottish singer-songwriter who has won multiple awards for her powerful voice and her compositions. She had a great band with her, and she sang some of her hits, such as ‘Next to Me’, ‘Clown’ and ‘Read All About It’ where she told the audience that she enjoyed working with Professor Green on the track, but really welcomed the chance to write her own verses and sing it her way. She also sang some songs from her latest album, Long Live the Angels, such as ‘Hurts’ and ‘Breathing Underwater’. She was incredible, delivering each song with passion and emotion. She also shared some stories behind her songs and thanked the audience for their support during her career.

The final act of the night was Gregory Porter, the American singer who has won two Grammys for Best Jazz Vocal Album. He had a smooth and soulful voice that filled the air with warmth and joy. He sang some jazz standards, such as ‘Mona Lisa’ and ‘Smile’, and some of his own songs, such as ‘Liquid Spirit’ and ‘Take Me to the Alley’. Gregory Porter is fairly new to me, but showcased his mastery of jazz and his charisma as a performer. The audience sat silent just enjoyed Porter and the band as they worked through hit after hit in what seemed to be a flawless performance. The respect the audience showed was a delight to witness, together with the sax solos.

It was a great evening of soul and jazz music that left me feeling uplifted and inspired to dive deeper into the genre.
Nocturne Live will return, 12th-16th June 2024.

Photo credit: Russell Fujak