Showing posts with label Royal Albert Hall. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Royal Albert Hall. Show all posts

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Laura Marling plays the Royal Albert Hall

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.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Adele and Lulu and the Lampshades at top volume

Two soundtracks dominated our Cumbrian Christmas.

The first was a stunning compilation of tracks my son thought I’d like (including several by Lulu and the Lampshades – how could you not love a band with a name like that?)

The second was a DVD of Adele live in concert at the Royal Albert Hall. My father gave it to me and it played in a loop for four days on the trot. Luckily we were in the wilds of the Lake District so there weren’t any neighbours to complain, just a few hundred sheep along the valley.
As always, Adele’s performance was sensational. This year’s biggest selling artist, she’s currently recovering from throat surgery and like all her fans I’m crossing my fingers that she gets better as soon as possible.

In between numbers like Set Fire to the Rain (my favourite) and the haunting Someone Like You she sipped warm honey and chatted to the audience about love, heartache and her “ex.”

But the most moving part came when she waved to her best friend Laura in the audience and explained that My Same, a song from her debut album, was dedicated to her pal. As Laura wiped tears from her eyes, Adele recalled how they’d made up after a falling-out. “I called Laura pretty much in tears,” she said, “telling her that I wanted her to be back in my life and that I needed her.”

The 100-minute concert (recorded back in September) was a triumph from start to finish - from Adele’s soulful voice and heartrending lyrics to her inimitable cackle and good-natured banter with her band. I loved it so much I'm going to play it again right now.

PS. Can someone tell me why the jokes in Christmas crackers are so dire? This year’s batch were worse than ever. The only one to raise a faint smile in our house was “what is an underground train full of professors called?” Answer. “A tube of Smarties.” Boom boom!
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