There was a lot of anticipation as the 24 year old Aberdonian singer songwriter geared up to headline the O2 venue for the last date of her UK tour, performing songs from debut – and number 1 – album Our Version of Events. What a talent this girl has. There’s no denying the musical ability she has, having written songs for the likes of Cheryl Cole, Susan Boyle (and more) before even contemplating her own career. My only worry was, would the live performance live up to the reputation already preceding Emeli Sande?
Yes is the short answer. Opening with Daddy – a track once considered as a debut single – Sande’s vocal chords echo throughout the Empire. It’s a great track but it doesn’t pack the same punch as Heaven. Still, it proved a strong start and set a high standard for the evening. Sande puts on a very honest and personal performance. She likes to explain a lot about each song and what it means to her, or how she came about creating the work. It brought about a unique bond between Sande and her fans, making the performance more personal to her. And it felt like I had made a new friend.
Highlight of the night was Read All About It Part III. Sande put her own verses to the collaboration with Professor Green which seen the pair hit the top spot in October last year. The stripped-down version of the song (Sande’s band and backing singers looked on as her and her piano owned the stage) depicts how much music has helped her, and how music can all help us find our voices in one way or another. In a surprising set, Sande didn’t feel the need to perform any covers, only providing us with different versions of her own songs.
With only one record out so far, Sande’s set proved short and sweet. Heaven was a great ending number, lasting a good six minutes while the crowd sang ‘then I’m gone’ back to her several times. Following this was a one-song encore; Sande’s biggest hit to date Next To Me. Again the audience joined in with the ‘woo-oohs’ and the crowd pleaser sent everybody home on a general high. The music industry should be glad Emeli Sande didn’t finish medical school and isn’t tending wards right now. What a great loss to British music that would’ve been.