By Ellis Garamszegi
I hadn’t heard much of Katie Melua for many years but vaguely remembered two of her big hits – “The Closest Thing to Crazy” and “Nine Million Bicycles”. When I heard she was touring I was quite intrigued as to what a mellow Melua performance would be like live, and in short, it was nothing short of beautiful.
Call Off The Search was released in 2003 and charted at #1 in the UK album charts – for many artists this should have been them at the peak of their powers, followed by the inevitable fade out to oblivion but, such are her abilities she has been releasing mesmerising music ever since. 2018 marked the release of her Ultimate collection, which if you’re not familiar with her music is a highlight reel which I’d recommend listening to, I know I have been ever since!
Seeing the incredibly talented Georgian-born, British singer song-writer and musician perform live was just another experience though, she actually sounded better (if that’s possible) than on any record. Everything from the set, to her band, (which included her younger brother on the electric guitar), to the special guests the Gori Women’s Choir who worked as a great addition to the whole performance was expertly crafted. There was lip service paid to Christmas with it now being just around the corner – “Perfect World” and a “Time to Buy” saw a reindeer light up the setback, and John Lewis Advert worthy videos played, but they were understated and didn’t take away from the main attraction, her voice. The arrangement of the set list; the song choices were absolutely on point and she had the whole audience spellbound. The tempo of it took us on a journey with her, the emotion in the room was palpable.
A remarkable voice, conveying emotion but which also makes for really easy listening. An acoustic guitar in arms for most of her songs but no two tracks were the same, she would pause and the crowd would fall silent for a few seconds before she began again. So elegant, delicate but at times also powerful, it was impressive to see the range of which she is capable. She performed an assortment of her own songs (including effortlessly switching it up to some interesting chorus’s in Georgian), but also intertwined her own take on some of the classics including Shirley Bassey’s “Diamonds are Forever“, an incredible rendition of Sting’s “Fields of Gold”, and closed the show with “What a Wonderful World”, it left us feeling good, appreciative and that life really is to be savoured.