Symphony Hall, Birmingham (2011)
The little lady in black, Katie Melua, showed she is a performer of enormous talent and contrast to a nearly-packed symphony hall, switching seamlessly between rock chick, torch singer and playful songstress.
Appearing first as a disembodied voice with her hit Closest Thing To Crazy the crystal clear tone of the Georgian singer sliced across the hall until it finally split the curtain to reveal the star looking both sexy and the innocent, girl next door.
Katie opened up her vulnerable and torch singer side extolling the pain of love through tracks such as If You Were A Sailboat, the dark and slightly sinister I’d Love To Kill You - a track from her latest album The House, The One I Love Is Gone and Call Off The Search.
This contrasted with her rock/blues chick side coming through on her cover of Canned Heat’s Going Up The Country and God On Drums, Devil On The Bass and as if to further demonstrate her versatility she did a solo and soulful rendition of Lilac Wine made famous by another female artist, Elkie Brooks.
In between Katie let her more playful side take stage with Tiny Alien and Red Balloons, both accompanied, as were many of her songs, by videos and graphics projected onto the back screen. There wasn’t a great deal of stage theatrics or pyrotechnics but then when you have a voice as clear and refreshing as a mountain stream on a cold day you don’t need any embellishments.
She kept her biggest hit to date, Nine Millions Bicycles, for one of her encore songs after an appreciative audience refused to budge until Miss Melua came back on stage, after which she finally said goodbye with the hauntingly sung I Cried For You.