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Live Review: David Gray – 5th February 2014 – The Emmanuel Centre, London, UK

3 min read

If you’ve heard of David Gray then you no doubt think you know what to expect from his gigs; your mind filling with hits such as Babylon, Please Forgive Me and Sail Away. This is miles away from the true beauty that David manages to create at his concerts – his old songs nowhere near matching the quality of sound that he now achieves and his old songs being revamped to have new life and an increasingly great sound.

Gray played at the Emmanuel Centre, only a short way off from the buzz of Victoria Station. This was the perfect venue for the near religious beauty of David’s music – which was complemented by lighting that made the religious words on the ceiling and walls glow in a stunning gold that made the concert have a both aural and visual beauty. The use of this old Evangelical Church suited the feeling of the gig perfectly, the auditorium fitting in many people but somehow keeping the feeling that this gig was personal, almost played solely for you.

David Gray and his six band members – each of them singing harmonies – created a sound that was full and near tear inducing at times. The set not only held the classics that the audience could sing along with, songs such as Sail Away and Babylon getting the whole audience going, but also featured songs from Gray’s most recent album – the quality of these songs striking the audience into an awe filled silence that was only broken to clap and cheer. These incredible sounds couldn’t of course, be achieved without Gray’s band who changed instruments almost every song and displayed great musicianship that complemented David’s already great singing. His quality was proven when the band left for a short while near the end of the set – giving David sole focus on the stage to show what he could do alone. He played a few minimalistic songs, starting alone, the band gradually returning starting with the bassist – who David played a beautiful duet with.

As the night went on Gray played increasingly beautiful music with his ever present Irish influences mixed in, songs such Skellig and Dun Laoghaire stunning the audience with their beauty.

One of the highlights of the evening came during his performance of Babylon. During this (despite David presumably play the song a fair few times) he got half way through the first verse before forgetting the lyrics – being met with many laughs from the audience.

At the end of the night, once Gray had finished his main set, he came back to play two of his classics: Babylon and Sail Away, making the audience sing along before leaving the venue buzzing from the positive energy that had filled the room.

Set List:

  1. Gulls
  2. The Incredible
  3. Skellig
  4. Dun Laoghaire
  5. I Want All My Cake and Eat It
  6. Katleen
  7. From Here You Can Almost See the Sea
  8. Ain’t No Love
  9. Gathering Dust
  10. Shine
  11. Flame Turns Blue
  12. The One I Love
  13. This Year’s Love
  14. Dancing With Both Feet Off The Ground
  15. My Oh My
  16. Laughing Gas
  17. NemesisEncore:
  18. Babylon
  19. Sail Away