Birdy At The Olympia Theatre – Review & Photos
As part of her Beautiful Lies tour, Birdy played the first of her two scheduled nights at Dublin’s Olympia Theatre. For many of her recent shows she has mysteriously placed tickets inside a bird cage near each venue, and this pattern again continued with a small gold cage seen dangling up high beside the coloured glass of the theatre’s entrance.
Getting her nickname from the way she would open her mouth looking for food when she was younger, twenty year old Birdy has this particular air about her; with a quite subtle and unassuming presence as she glides across the stage that soon reduces the room from an initial burst of applause to whispers, and then a hushed silence.
Dainty and delicate, she takes up residence at her centre stage grand piano and opens with ‘Shadow’ taken from the latest album Beautiful Lies. She is also in great company with a five piece band by her side, who first make their presence really known for ‘Beating Heart’, their collective powerful sound lifting the distinctive haunting element’s of Birdy’s voice right across the beautifully apt setting of the acclaimed theatre.
The stage is decorated in such a way that soft hanging silk material slowly sways about, splitting and shifting the lighting that hit it to create eye-catching effects for ‘Hear You Calling’, which is also coupled with captivating harmonies for ‘Wild Horses’ to compliment Birdy’s soulful qualities.
‘Unbroken’ sees Birdy performing with just her piano and her violinist, and beyond the pin-drop atmosphere and poignant harmonies you can’t help but notice how far beyond her years this young woman seems. Her poise, demeanor and boho-chic aura brings out that sophisticated side, but you will also notice that she is quite reserved, only pausing throughout songs to give a polite ‘thank you’ before moving on. Seeing her move from the piano to stand with a guitar for ‘Words as Weapons’ is even too much for some people, sending them into an excited frenzy at the thought of her stepping away from her comfort zone to stand up with a microphone.
Bon Iver’s ‘Skinny Love’ is really where it all started for Birdy, and as she softly plays the first familiar chords, many in the room attempt to jump-start proceedings and skip to the chorus line so they can belt it out. It still holds some of the innocence of hearing it performed back when she was fourteen, though her voice has reached a new level of maturity, effortlessly gliding between key changes while she is completely absorbed in exhibiting the perfect piano piece too.
The beautiful ‘Wings’ receives the sing-along reception it deserves, and Birdy welcomes support act Dan Owen (think mini Jack Savoretti protégé) back to the stage for a rendition of ‘Let It All Go’, with harmonies that send reminders of Birdy’s previous collaboration with Mumford and Sons on the award nominated ‘Learn Me Right’ track to Disney’s Brave in 2012.
She chooses well in ending her set with the upbeat ‘Keeping Your Head Up’, encouraging the crowd along for the catchy track that’s met with a fitting fast light display and gets everyone to their feet before she finishes up and again politely thanks everyone for coming along.
Selling over 10.5 million records worldwide, this little Birdy has most definitely taken flight, and will continue to deliver her enchanting live shows as her tour continues into the UK this week and over to Spain in early November.