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Live Review: Katie Melua – 25th July 2017 – Cadogan Hall, London, UK

4 min read
Photo: PIP/BMG

The last time we caught Katie Melua live was several years ago when the singer performed an exceptional set at Hammersmith’s Eventim Apollo (or the Hammersmith Apollo as it was formerly known). Performing tracks from her then-new studio album The House, Melua delivered an exceptional set for fans and so it was with delight that we jumped in the opportunity to see the Georgian beauty once again as she took to the eloquent settings of London’s Cadogan Hall with an even weightier catalogue in hand.

With security at the very corporate event very tight, thanks to the night being promoted by Amazon Prime as part of the exclusive and intimate Prime Live series, the venue quickly filled with a much older – and dare I say it, posher – crowd than previous Melua concerts that we have attended.

Stepping on stage at a little after 8pm in a black top, white frilled skirt and pink heels, Katie swept straight into the gorgeously dreamy If I Were A Sailboat; each note approached with sheer perfection and precision before taking on a cover of Black’s Wonderful Life and a rendition of John Mayall’s Crawling Up A Hill; the later taken from Melua’s first studio release back in 2003.

Melua displayed not only a refined and seasoned musician who has mastered her vocal and instrumental craft but also an entertainer; eager to offer anecdotes to her engaged audience prior to most numbers included within the weighty setlist. We were taken back to her childhood as Melua described being raised in Georgia and making a deserted post Georgian Civil War airfield a playground for her and her friends to explore as she offered us a mesmerizing performance of Plane Song which set a nostalgic tone following a cover of the Louis Armstrong classic, What A Wonderful World which Melua dressed in facts about the success of the iconic hit.

Covers were a focal point of last nights performance with almost half of the set being credited to the work of those that Melua has been influenced by. An uptempo rendition of Erma Franklin’s (Take Another Little) Piece of My Heart was dedicated to a friend in the audience who had recently been through a break up; Night in the City found Melua pulling out her inner Joni Mitchell and we were taken into deep, bluesy waters with the singers cover of Ella Mae’s Fifteen Hours, but it was the encore performance of Shirley Bassey’s Diamonds Are Forever that had the crowd spellbound and hanging on to each and every single note – as crystal clear as a note could be – that fell from the musician’s lips and soared through the venue with conviction.

As heavy as the covers flowed, Melua was also generous with injecting a good handful of hits into the set for fans more commercially inclined; The Closest Thing to Crazy and Nine Million Bicycles glazing the set with a touch of mainstream appeal and getting some of the biggest reactions from the audience.

One of the biggest moments during Melua’s set came with her performance of I Will Be There. As Melua described, “the song was commissioned for the Queens Jubilee and the first time I performed it was in front on Queen”. Following this confession the audience were treated to one of the most powerful additions of the evening; Melua’s pristine vocals flowing over the crowd and filling the venue. It was a truly goosebump-inducing moment within the 2 hour long show.

As Melua’s 4-piece band – who were all given very personal and sentimental nods to by the leading lady throughout the show – left the stage for the star to deliver her closing number alone and acoustically, the crowd cheered as she strum her guitar to the gorgeous I Cried For You, capping the night with a mellow yet memorable hit that had the crowd humming as they were ushered from the venue.

Last nights performance was very different to the pop-fueled evening that we witnessed Melua offer us several years ago. It was a much more conservative and mature event; from the venue and the audience members to the clothing worn by Melua and the way that she addressed the crowd with her stories and jokes. While there were significant differences in that sense, what remains the same is Melua’s effortless ability to hold a crowds attention with a voice that is both refined and mesmerizing.

If You Were a Sailboat
Wonderful Life (Black cover)
Crawling Up a Hill (John Mayall cover)
Belfast (Penguins and Cats)
The Closest Thing to Crazy
What a Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong cover)
Plane Song
Fifteen Hours (Ella Mae Morse cover)
Piece by Piece
Night in the City (Joni Mitchell cover)
The Cry of the Lone Wolf
(Take a Little) Piece of My Heart (Erma Franklin cover)
I Will Be There
Dreams On Fire
No Fear of Heights
Thank You, Stars
Perfect World
Nine Million Bicycles
As Long as I Live

Diamonds Are Forever (Shirley Bassey cover)
I Cried for You