Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Brandi Carlile @ Arts Theatre London

I've just arrived at home after seeing Brandi Carlile at the Arts Theatre London. It was awesome! AWESOME!

Before I say any more I have to thank Ellie for saving my sanity and arranging tickets for me when I thought all hope was lost. I also have to thank Kate for restoring my faith in human kindness by offering me a pair of tickets today. Bless you both.

This was my first visit to the Arts Theatre and I have to say that it is a really nice venue for a gig. It looked like there were about 300 seats in a nice compact, yet comfortable space. Every seat was filled, and there were enough people to create a great atmosphere, but the venue is small enough for everyone to be close to the artists. I understand that tonight's performance will be the last concert at the Arts Theatre. This is a shame.

Phil Campbell opened up, and I have to say he was very, very good. I haven't heard of him or any of his songs before, but I was very impressed.

His voice is much larger than he is (he bumped into me on the way out), and his songwriting is quite accomplished. The only thing I could fault him on (and only a little) was his stage craft.

He didn't really connect with the audience. Still there's nothing wrong with his singing or his songwriting, and I'm thinking of going to see him perform again, soon.

Now, Brandi Carlile.

Did I say awesome? Oh, I did. Hmmm; thesaurus time... how about, great, incredible, fabulous, amazing, astounding, fantastic, superb or outstanding? Take your pick, they all apply in bucket loads.

From the very first song, all the way through to the end of the performance, she (and to be fair, the rest of the band also) had a great stage presence. The kind of interaction with the audience that make the audience feel part of the performance and makes a gig worth going to.

That alone would have made it a good gig, but what elevated it to awesome status was the the face that each song was wonderfully and in many cases, energetically performed.

Add the fact that she has a great voice and talent for songwriting and you get an awesome gig. It's a simple recipe really.

There was old stuff, new stuff from the next album, covers of 'Creep' by Radiohead & Jeff Buckley's version of 'Hallelulah' (which happens to be one of my favorite songs) to close the set.

Every song was played just about perfectly and the only real disappointment was the lighting engineer's foray into random psuedo-psychadellic lighting on one song, relatively early in the set, which thankfully wasn't repeated.

After a bit of reflection I'd have to say that the gig was at least as good as the Willie Nelson concert I went to at the Apollo in May (but not as long, he may be old, but he can go on for hours). It was almost as good as seeing the Boss at the Emirates Stadium. I can't give her any higher praise than that.

So there you have it, I'm a fan. I even bought a T-shirt!

I'm torn about posting this. The more people that are aware of Brandi's great voice, lyrics and performances, the harder it will be to get tickets. With a bit of luck she'll be performing in London again before too long.

Whenever it is, I'll definitely be trying to buy a few tickets.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a really good time.

I'am glad you had such nice friends to help you get tickets.

Wish I could have been to the Willie Nelson one, I love country music and him in particular.

I enjoy reading your blog as you do interesting and varied things.

29/7/08 05:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the most impressive live performances I have ever seen, Can't see it being too long until much larger venues are needed for her to reach a bigger audience. The new stuff sounded great as did the "unplugged" track as I was seated in the front row,lucky me!!

29/7/08 14:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

glad you enjoyed it!

more people need to know about brandi - it's true - but i also dont want to be too far away in a huge venue!

it's great that she is so appreciate of her Uk audience. it's great.

the show was great :-)

29/7/08 15:16  
Blogger Jon said...

Were you the person recording pretty much the entire performance on a little digicam?

If so which camera? From where I was sitting a few rows back, the quality looked quite good.

If it was you, then please pop it on YouTube.

I bottled out when I saw the signs saying no photography or video recordings, and now am regretting my decision.

29/7/08 15:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nope that wasnt me, but another fan on the brandi message board, did as far as im aware, get the majority of the show on video. he was in the balcony.


if you head over to the forum, in the concert and reviews thread, there is one for the London date, and a link will be posted there. I believe he is not back home yet, so it may be a couple of days for him to sort it out. It'll be on youtube :-) i'm counting on him, haha, because i didn't take any myself because of that. Don't know if this was the same person you were thinking of?

You'll also find some links to photos, including ones I took. there were a couple of people with SLR's. I had asked the venue permission to use mine, not sure about those folks....

29/7/08 19:57  
Blogger ToonCat said...

I swear she's getting better with every performance. Glad you had fun Jon - sorry we didn't end up meeting. I was swept up in what the larger group wanted to do.

Agree with the worry over the larger venues - it can't be long can it? Still - she deserves it! ;-)

30/7/08 15:23  
Blogger Jon said...

Hi Kate,

It is a shame we didn't manage to meet up. I'd have liked to have bought you a drink.

Also it would have proved to my wife that there are real people out there who leave comments on my blog, she's convinced that I make up the comments myself!

Maybe we can arrange something next tome Brandi plays in London.

After Monday night, I'll definately be checking regularly to see if there are tickets for any new concerts.

She is much better live than on the albums, which is annoying. Before the concert I thought that the albums were brilliant, now they have lost a little bit of their shine.

Do keep in touch.

30/7/08 15:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if you keep an eye on the forum, most things seem to end up there first - many eyes on the look out.

she is doing a festival in ireland in Sept, and they said they'd be back over here - altho where and when is yet to be seen. I do hope so as i cant get to ireland for the festival :-(

30/7/08 20:44  
Blogger Jon said...

Hi 'kookie21',

The Cois Fharraige festival actually has a really good lineup, but I think it is just too far away for me to go.

Thanks for the info though.

31/7/08 11:30  

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