Live Review: Paloma Faith – 14th March 2018 – O2 Arena, London, UK
Flaunting a brand new record still fresh on the digital shelves and from hitting the number one spot on the UK charts, Hackney soul siren Paloma Faith returned to the forefront of the British music scene a brand new woman at the end of 2017. The aforementioned album – the widely acclaimed, The Architect – has taken Faith into much more mature and controversial territory than ever before in her decade long career with much of the record tackling sensitive and controversial topics like politics, relationships and motherhood so it was no surprise that such topics would be the centre piece of conversation and song during the stars current UK tour for the collection.
Being garnished with acclaim for her shows to date on the Architect tour which has so far visited many major cities around the UK, London fans were treated to a spectacle of pristine vocals, holographic stage structures and some of British music’s finest musical pennings as the recent first-time mother took to the grand O2 Arena stage.
The spotlight was appropriately aimed at tracks plucked carefully from the songbirds latest release. The star emerged on stage atop a giant holographic, crystalline and mountainous structure looking every bit the global superstar in a shimmering one piece and spiked, hooded jacket to match her stage design (which would soon be traded in for a more lightweight and breezy cape) to the records politically charged title track before giving her adoring fans pitch perfect renditions of album singles Crybaby and Guilty, both of which had the fans worked up nice and early in the set and singing along to two of the musicians most successful recent releases and leading to Faith announcing “Thanks for coming round. It is a home game after all”.
Faith was strategic in her delivery of album tracks throughout the night; carefully lining up power ballads like stripped back and tender piano ballad Just Me where she sang atop her pianists grand instrument, next to moving stories of a former boyfriend who she witnessed being aggressively arrested before offering fans an insightful Kings and Queens, and the political, angst-laden WW3 where she laid down her opinions on Donald Trump and the direction of the world in its current state.
While American RnB icon John Legend may have been absent for last nights performance, co-songwriter Zak Abel stepped in to deliver a memorable moment in the set as he took on collaborative vocal duties with Faith on the tender I’ll Be Gentle while main set closer, dance floor gem and Sigma collaborative hit, Changing, had the crowd up on their feet and dancing before the redheaded songstress and her skilled backing back departed for a quick encore break.
While songs from The Architect basked in deserved glory beneath the enormous O2 Arena spotlights for the majority of the set, the musicians career highlights were given an audience welcome reserved for artists at the very top of their game; as Faith displayed her residency within throughout her entire set. The funky Can’t Rely On You shone bright as one of the sets strongest additions, sitting back to back with early career top ten hit, Picking Up The Pieces, while encore and set highlight Only Love Can Hurt Like This had the crowd belting along and sent chills around the O2 Arena as Faith delivered the power ballad with conviction and passion.
This was no Britney-style pop performance; not only did the singer deliver flawless live vocals from start to end, she also exercised her confidence and genuine personable showmanship as she emerged herself into her audience for Picking Up The Pieces, admitting that she likes to meet people at her shows. There were anecdotes and stories behind many of the tracks included within the album heavy setlist and the star took us behind the scenes of her personal life as she re countered intimate moments such as becoming a mother for the first time and the struggles of accepting her body (My Body). This brought the fans closer to the celebrity in a way so few artists offer and something that gave Faith’s performance that little bit extra and made for a stellar evening of music, stories and sentiment from one of the l leading ladies of British soul.
Lost and Lonely
I’ll Be Gentle
Kings and Queens
Can’t Rely on You
Picking Up The Pieces
Tonight’s Not Only Night
Til I’m Done
Only Love Can Hurt Like This
Love Me As I Am