Last weekend, Scottish songbird Emeli Sande brought her first ever arena tour, the ‘Long Live the Angels Tour’, to Glasgow with support from Britain’s Got Talent contestant Calum Scott.
Best known for his cover of Robyn’s ‘Dancing on my Own’, Scott proved to be a very fitting support act for Sande. His music has a similar style to hers, with his set ranging from upbeat pop tracks to ballads.
Given that he’s not released an album yet, there were very few songs that the majority of the audience knew to sing along to aside from his aforementioned hit single, which was the most downloaded single of summer 2016. The audience lit up when he performed this, though.
While not knowing most of the material, his brief set was a great showcase of what is still to come from him. He used his northern charm to appeal to the crowd and his gushes of how much he loves performing in Scotland and how he wants to bring his first headline tour to Glasgow definitely kept the audience pleased and hyped for Emeli Sande coming to the stage.
Following Scott’s set, the stage was revealed, having been hidden by a curtain. It was a thing of beauty. Three giant perspex cubes dominated the stage in front of huge screens which had different artistic videos playing on them throughout the show. Aside from that there wasn’t any major staging, with most of the stage being taken up by her excellent 11-piece band and backing singers. Even the costuming was artistic, with Sande in a trademark black outfit while everyone else on-stage was dressed in white.
While all of that was quite pretty and impressive, the best moments of the show by far were the more intimate ones on a small B-stage in the middle of the audience. Performing in the round on a grand piano, she seemed more at-home on a smaller stage where she performed some her biggest songs such as ‘Read All About It’ and ‘Clown’, as well as an acoustic version of her new single ‘Starlight’. As ever, her voice was flawless throughout the set of soulful pop.
Throughout the show, Sande dropped several anecdotes about her time following the success of her debut album Our Version of Events. While she seemed to take herself rather seriously during these moments, with reflections on her “journey” and how last time she had performed in Glasgow it was at the much smaller Oran Mor, she’s earned the right to do so after becoming one of the most successful acts to come out of Scotland.
Highlights of the show included a cover of Janis Joplin’s ‘Piece of my Heart’, which she really made her own, and some of the more upbeat moments where she was dancing along with her band on the huge stage.
While she performed a wide array of tracks from both of her albums across the 22-song set, a personal grumble is that she didn’t perform one of the best tracks from her new album, ‘Garden’. I can see why she didn’t include it in the set, as it is more hip-hop influenced than most of her other tracks while the whole set was very much soul music but it was still amiss nonetheless.
Closing the show with an encore of ‘Little Bit Longer’ was apt and saw Emeli Sande receive a rapturous applause from an audience that seemed elated the whole way through a performance that cemented Emeli Sande as one of the best singers around today.
4 out of 5