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Live Review: Joss Stone – 7th March 2023 – Palladium, London, UK

4 min read
Soul icon @JossStone leaves us speechless and in awe as she sets the @LondonPalladium alight with 20 Years of Soul. Our full review here....

It’s been a little quiet on the live music front these last couple of months. With the summer months of entertainment now starting to take a very seductive shape, the start of the year usually tends to be a little lacklustre – even by London standards. Thankfully, soul superstar Joss Stone and her powerfully charged entourage came to shake the winter chill out of our bones; touching down in the capital this week to treat fans with a very special and heavy helping of soul food as fans bundled up and ventured into London’s crisp but buzzing theatre district – namely, the famously grand London Palladium.

Stepping out to a venue shaking applause from her fans in a flowing ankle-length white and black floral print dress, the British soul icon looked genuinely humbled and excited as she took her position barefoot on a large Persian rug and in front of a backing band of 9 musicians all uniformed in white. She didn’t waste any time; diving straight into the hits with a medley of You Had Me, Free Me, Bad Habit and the frequently covered classic, You Got The LoveSuper Duper Love and Fell In Love With A Boy – two early juggernauts for the singer – had the crowd belting back to the songstress as she paced the stage with finesse and passion while her band provided a funky bass heavy backbone to the numbers.

Over the course of 2 hours the singer paced herself through each of her eight studio albums as she celebrated 20 soulful years as a celebrated and world-renowned artist – and one that, vocally, has become more refined with each passing year.

Her enthusiasm to talk to the crowd and tell anecdotes about moments in her career as she took us through the years further added to the intimacy of the show. Ahead of her performance of Jet Lag, Stone talked about her difficulties getting into the world of songwriting as she sipped on a hot chai tea; telling the audience that the song was about “how love can make you feel delightfully like shit” and confessing to refraining from going off on a tangent and singing about the beverage she cupped in her hand.

Further into the set Stone discussed the eras of her career; drawing particular attention to being “particularly pissed off” during the recording 2009’s Colour Me Free and taking us through a pitch-perfect performance of 4 and 20 before a change into a figure-hugging gold/beige dress with black belt during The Love We Had (Stays on My Mind) made the singer look every bit the Hollywood starlet.

A medley she called Harry’s Symphony took us through Wake Up, Clean Water, Less is More,  Love Me and Way Oh; the lights changing to the colours of the Jamaican flag and Stone showing off her skills in the reggae domain while a homage to the late Burt Bacharach shone brightly as the singer delivered a slow-paced rendition of The Look of Love.

Right To Be Wrong was introduced to the set nearing the end of the night and was one of the highlights of the show; starry effects taking over the stage as the superstar offered a gorgeous acoustic version of the hit and had the crowd standing to their feet to garnish Stone with one of many standing ovations throughout the night before a cover of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ I Put a Spell on You further showed off Stones unbelievable ability to swing through an intricate number with ease unseen by many in the industry.

It’s been a while since we were left speechless at the end of a show but Joss literally left us gasping as we stood to rightfully offer the final standing ovation of the night as she departed the stage. It’s also been a long time since we witnessed a single of Joss’ calibre of talent. Her voice is one thing – flawlessly seasoned as she effortlessly belts out pitch perfect notes both casual and aggressive across multiple genres – but her ability to dominate the stage and carry such presence for her fans with an unwavering sense of passion in what she does is both admiring and inspiring. Leaving the Palladium after 2 hours of solid perfection has certainly raised the bar for us in terms of live performance. Absolutely and breathtakingly stellar!

Setlist:
You Had Me / Free Me / Bad Habit / You Got the Love
Super Duper Love (Are You Diggin’ on Me?), Part 1 (Billy “Sugar Billy” Garner cover)
Fell in Love With a Boy
Jet Lag
Proper Nice
Tell Me ‘Bout It
4 and 20
The Love We Had (Stays on My Mind) (The Dells cover)
Harry’s Symphony – Wake Up / Clean Water / Less is More / Love Me / Way Oh
The Look of Love (Burt Bacharach cover)
Dirty Man (Laura Lee cover)
When You’re in Love
Rain Song
Right to Be Wrong
Music
I Put a Spell on You (Screamin’ Jay Hawkins cover)

Encore:
Put Your Hands on Me / Son of a Preacher Man / Piece of My Heart
Some Kind of Wonderful (Soul Brothers Six cover)