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Live Review: Joan Osborne – 2nd July 2024 – Union Chapel, London, UK

3 min read
We attended a rare but truly beautiful performance last night by US musician, @joan_osborne at our favourite venue, @UnionChapelUK. Here is our full review of the multi-Grammy nominated artists return to the capital...

For many years I have considered Union Chapel to be right up there with the very best in terms of venues to see someone you enjoy, live. In fact, I would go as far as to say it is my absolute favourite live music venue. Its acoustics are stunning, its performances are always up close and personal, and the venue doesn’t really have a single bad seat. Combine these things with church pews and a giant organ perched at the back off it’s tiny stage and an ambient atmosphere of either light coming in through its stained-glass windows or the venue being lit up by the soft glow of dozens of tea light candles and you are onto a winner. I’ve seen stripped back performances by many world class acts within its walls including Claire Richards, Heather Nova, Natalie Imbruglia and Lady A to name a few and last night we happily returned to the Islington chapel, this time to see 90’s singer-songwriter, Joan Osborne.

Osborne is best known for her worldwide hit, One of Us and she has recently released a new collection called Nobody Owns You, a record that she has returned to the UK and Europe to proudly support. Several highlights from that new record were unveiled at various points within last night’s brief but memorable 70 minute set including Woman’s Work, where Osborne sings of the many challenges of females over their male counterparts. “I don’t like to be controversial but the research does back me up”, Osborne would say after the songs performance which had the crowd cheering back.

A touching performance of the new records title track was dedicated to her daughter and tells of women not allowing anyone to control them regardless of their situation or things they may be afforded by others, while the opening I Should’ve Danced More was the perfect introduction to the night with its swaying, guitar strummed melody.

Her weighty 13 album back catalogue has seen Osborne also explore her peers work – specifically the work of Bob Dylan, and her impressive covers of the tambourine rattling Highway 61 and closing Gotta Serve Somebody were solid, lyric heavy additions that sat alongside Osborne’s own well-crafted and beautifully delivered pennings that made up the 11-song set.

A new arrangement of Pensacola saw the singer take on a more bluesy interpretation of the Relish fan favourite while St Theresa came with a Spanish twist and some Spanish footwork as Osborne danced around the quaint and cosy Union Chapel stage; beneath her fully length, figure-hugging blue and white tie dyed dress, her thick wooden heels creating a thudding beat to the catchy number. However, it was always going to be the singers mammoth 90’s hit, One of Us that had the crowd filled to the brim with joy. Swaying along to the keys of a delicately played piano, Osborne delivered a striking, stripped back version of the 3-time Grammy nominated hit; her raspy and occasionally crackly vocals adding to her worn, signature Americana style as the crowd hung on every word.

It was a show filled with 90’s nostalgia and a string of impressive hits and covers but a musician that remains both passionate to her career as she is to her fans who she offered to sign records for after the show, despite British Airways losing her luggage and half of her merchandise.

A short but truly memorable and raw stop over performance from one of the leading ladies of 90’s female singer-songwriters.

I Should’ve Danced More
Highway 61 Revisited (Bob Dylan cover)
I Want to Be Loved (Muddy Waters cover)
Trouble and Strife
Woman’s Work
Nobody Owns You
St. Teresa
One of Us

Gotta Serve Somebody (Bob Dylan cover)


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