Home > Reviews > Live Reviews > 02/06/2014 | Sara Bareilles, Islington Assembly Hall, London

02/06/2014 | Sara Bareilles, Islington Assembly Hall, London

Lisa Ward


With a second date added to Sara Bareilles’ London shows after a sell out, it’s clear there’s no shortage on fans on UK soil and tonight she works her way through her best loved tracks to the crowds’ delight. With Love Song, King of Anything and Uncharted all representing her earlier work, along with a rare airing of Parking Lot, those who have tracked her career from the start revel in the older numbers, but for me it’s the newer tracks which highlight her continually deliver songs with catchy hooks.

Hercules lacks some of the album production, instead becoming a rawer more emotive number and December offers similar, transforming itself into an even more heartbreaking ballad. Nevertheless it’s Brave, though written for a friend struggling with coming out, which feels like an anthem for the night, its push to encourage people to stand up and speak out easily being applicable to many situations. Meanwhile I Choose You, which she tells us was written after fans wanted to use one of her songs at a wedding, only to realise everything she had written was on the gloomy side, shows her softer side and ability to perfectly surmise the happier moments of a relationship as well as the bad.

Despite there being just three musicians on stage, the trio still manage to weave the intricate harmonies which make Bareilles’ work so enticing. As she jokes and swears her way through the night, it also becomes clear that she is humbled by her UK fan base. It seems a shame then that she throws not one, but two covers into the mix, delivering Otis Redding’s Dock of the Bay and Bon Iver’s Blood Bank. Whilst there’s nothing bad about either number, it’s clear the crowd want more than just her best known tracks and would have welcomed more of her own numbers.

Nevertheless it’s a dazzling performance, which highlights both her vocal capacity and musical dexterity both on piano and guitar. As she closes the night with what seems like an unexpectedly short set, it appears I’m not the only one hoping that this marks the start of more UK shows.