Emeli Sandé At The Olympia Theatre – Photos & Review
For all the success and multi-million selling albums that Emeli Sandé had accumulated and achieved in 2012 with her first album Our Version of Events, she now appears to be one of those artists quite happy to make and share music while keeping a lower profile. What results is her catchy numbers still sneaking through the radio waves and into the heads of unsuspecting drivers and passengers (including myself) and leaving a trail of songs that many will know and recognise but may struggle putting an exact handle on who sings them. However, her talent clearly does not go unnoticed, with Dublin’s Olympia Theatre heaving for the tour of her more recent album Long Live the Angels.
Emeli introduces both herself and her band to the crowd by performing ‘Selah’, the first track of the new album, behind a curtain to give a silhouette effect. Her four musicians and three backing singer “Sandettes” emerge afterwards as she moves into ‘Heaven’ taken from her first album, and they follow this with the refreshing ‘Wonder’, that enthralls the crowd and sets off a feel good bounce around the room. Sandé’s voice is powerful and effortless, beautifully complimented by the strong musicianship that joins her in the form of joyous harmonies, timely drums and both smooth piano/guitar chords that give an enriched and uplifted feel to her performance. ‘Tenderly’ adds to this atmosphere and it is almost as if Emeli is there playing a part as she stands in her long black Matrix style trenchcoat, preaching to a congregation as the choir sing on and happy faces look on in admiration.
A surge of singing voices can be heard as the massive 2013 hit ‘Free’ fills the room, and by the time ‘Every Single Little Piece’ and ‘Sweet Architect’ come around the heartening and soulful qualities to Sandé’s voice become even more apparent, especially when her backing singers join in to add perfectly fitting harmonies and also ensure to pump extra zest into each dramatic key change along the way.
‘Breathing Underwater’ is one of those songs you can’t help but sing back with everything you have got, and in a live setting it is even more effective in getting a message across with its meaningful lyrics being shared to the Olympia rafters ‘Every moon and every star knows who you are now, So ever if it gets too dark, you are not alone.’ This gets the whole room right in the palm of Emeli’s hand, and true to typical Irish crowd form a sing-along ensues for the upbeat ‘Hurts’ and again for a rendition of ‘Beneath Your Beautiful’ that Emeli sings on the steps with her talented guitarist as opposed to Labrinth who she originally featured on the track with.
Emeli smiles and laughs her way through the performance, bouncing around when needs be but also having the ability to draw everyone in for the slower numbers. She does chat to the crowd in a polite and appreciative way, but apart from that is quite happy to stay more reserved throughout the set as she fits an impressive amount into her prompt ninety minute set. The feel good ‘Highs and Lows’ is a complete delight, filled with dramatic clapping and repetitive dance moves that can be joined in to the hearts content, and after a brief pause, Emeli finishes up her set with a stunning rendition of ‘Read All About It’ that rounds up a thoroughly enjoyable set in front of a diverse crowd which shows that the span on her likeability goes far and beyond the walls of a historic Dublin theatre.
Emeli Sandé will also play in Dublin on 27 October at 3Arena.