Whether you’re an old-timer or a young ingenue, performing in front of 5,000 people must be pretty daunting.
But 22-year-old Laura Marling showed barely a trace of nerves when she took the stage for a one-off show at London’s Royal Albert Hall last night.
Newly returned from an American tour, she said she and her five-piece band had been away a long time and claimed they were “terrified.” You’d never have known it from her performance, which was as cool and self-assured as ever.
Marling, who despite her tender age has three bestselling albums to her name and recently finished writing her fourth, isn’t like other singers. She doesn’t do gimmicks or banter and far from looking glammed up or flashy onstage she wore a simple long black dress and trainers, tuned her guitars in between numbers and concentrated on singing her heart out. She featured two new songs (even though “it’s not what you’re supposed to do at gigs”), admitting along the way that her parents would be “quaking” and there was a possibility she might “mess up.” She didn’t, of course.
Whether she was performing the haunting Night after Night alone or the recent single Sophia with her band, Marling’s gorgeous voice stopped us all in our tracks. One fan was so pole-axed that he yelled “you’re a legend” at her, while another shouted “I want to have your babies, Laura.” “You’re making me blush,” she said quietly before launching into the next number.
Another notable thing about Laura Marling is that she doesn’t do encores. But at least she’s straight-talking and warns the audience in advance. With two songs to go, she told us: “If you wanted an encore, then this is the last number. If you didn’t want an encore, then this is the second to last.”
As ever, she was true to her word. As we rose from our seats to pay tribute to her jaw-dropping talent, she jumped off the circular stage, hurried through the stalls and was gone before we had time to blink.