Concert Review: Lianne La Havas (Sydney Festival 2013)

Last Wednesday night, I was lucky enough to be in attendance of a powerful, yet intimate performance from London artist Lianne La Havas. What happened during and after that performance is something I never would have predicted to happen. Still smiling from that night. :)

Lianna La Havas at the Sydney Festival

The bar has been set.

2013 has only just begun and I have already witnessed one of the best live performances I have ever seen in a very long time.

Last Wednesday, as part of the Sydney Festival, I headed over to Parramatta’s The Spiegeltent at Prince Alfred Park to see London artist Lianne La Havas deliver an impressively delightful and beautiful performance.

Lianna La Havas at the Sydney Festival_1

In town for her first Australian tour, La Havas was a special guest at this year’s Sydney Festival, selling out all four of her scheduled Sydney shows (two in the CBD and two in Parramatta) and I was lucky enough to be in attendance at her final Sydney performance of the tour!

Playing a little over an hour, her set was mainly based around her debut record, “Is Your Love Big Enough?”, a record that La Havas admitted during the night was “obviously about her ex-boyfriend and their past relationship”.

Lianne La Havas at the Sydney Festival - setlist

Most people I know have never heard of Lianne La Havas, and to them I say, ‘Shame on you.’

Her voice is unique, her guitar-playing is unmatched to most female artists in the music business today, and her sound can be compared to the likes of fellow soulful songstresses as India Arie, Erykah Badu and Corinne Bailey Rae.

But it is her live performance that really sets her apart.

Every song sung that night was filled with so much power and emotion, it wasn’t hard to believe that the audience was silent for most of the performance and at the same time, it was kind of hard to keep your eyes off of the 23-year-old.

Situated on a tiny stage with three spunky and talented band members (who also happened to be her backing vocals), it seemed like she fit right at home, but when the band left the stage and it was just La Havas and her guitar, that’s when her voice really shined.

Lianna La Havas at the Sydney Festival_2

Midway through her set, La Havas performed ‘Gone’, which she explained was the final song on the record that brought all the songs about her past relationship together. And it was through the performance of that particular song that brought her powerhouse voice to life.

I was practically blown away to the point where I was wiping away at the corners of my eyes, and if you were close enough to see her face when she was singing that song, you could tell that she was fighting back a few tears of her own.

It was such a powerful performance that you could tell the emotion was felt all throughout the room. She gave us 100% of herself when she was singing ‘Gone’ and I wish I had captured that moment on video. I did manage, however, to capture her performance of ‘Elusive’ (Press play on the video below.), before she delved into my favourite track, ‘Lost & Found’.

Lianne La Havas – Elusive (Live) from the5to9life on Vimeo.

Her last song ‘Forget’ was “a love song to the audience”, but she quickly returned for a 2-song encore including her own rendition of Jill Scott’s ‘He Loves Me’, and her catchy single ‘Age’. Word on the street is, she did not perform the Jill Scott cover the night before, so I believe I chose the right night to attend. 🙂

Despite some technical difficulties and a bout of the giggles, she soldiered on to deliver a live performance that I simply cannot fault.

Honestly, I had goosebumps after witnessing such a flawless performance by Lianne La Havas, and left the venue completely in awe and feeling utterly inspired.

Lianna La Havas at the Sydney Festival_3

After the show, she stuck around for a meet and greet with every single person who stuck it out in the cold to line up and speak with her. Her CDs sold out pretty quickly for any signing opportunities, but I came prepared with my own copy (thanks to a little birdy who had attended the night before), whilst others scrambled for their tickets or programs to be signed.

Meeting Lianne La Havas, however, was indeed a different experience altogether and I’m so glad I decided to stay around for it. Though she was being pushed for time by her tour manager, La Havas made sure everyone in line was given an opportunity to spend a few minutes with her. And let me tell you this: her personality matches that sweet and vulnerable voice of hers. She is just so beautiful. Simple as that.

Lianna La Havas at the Sydney Festival - signed

Oh and even though I was still on a high from what I witnessed the night before, receiving these notifications in my instagram feeds the next day really did make my high last just a little bit longer. 😉

Lianna La Havas at the Sydney Festival_4

Something else happened that night that made it even more special, but that’s for me to know and for you to find out. 😉 All I will say is, if this is just an inkling of what 2013 is going to be like, then it is definitely going to be a massive and exciting year! Watch this space. 🙂