Katie Melua, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Friday, October 12.
No one should underestimate Katie Melua.
Although her most recent work has perhaps been released on a smaller scale compared to her show-stopping debut back in 2003, what I saw on Friday night really proved that Katie has a real staying power – she's just as remarkable as she was when she first topped the charts.
Watching her at Birmingham Symphony Hall as part of her Secret Symphony tour, to support her latest album of the same name, the audience were taken on a tour of her whole musical career, from her earliest hits to those which have not yet been released.
She opened with her hit Piece by Piece. With just her faithful guitar at hand, she was still capable of creating a striking stage presence; her pure tone and emotive voice moved freely from loud piercing notes to quiet whispers.
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You really notice how good she is live, however, when you close your eyes: the sound quality and Katie's voice are so pure you could be listening to the record, and you wouldn't be able to tell the difference.
There certainly is excitement when she begins to play The Closest Thing to Crazy. Her breakthrough single at the tender age of 19. This is a song that will never grow old.
The strength of her voice, showcased in The Flood, is not to be doubted.
Although she admits with honesty that she didn't want to write much on Secret Symphony, she instead puts the emphasis on her orchestra and the intimacy created with the use of string quartet as well.
She is certainly charismatic, much more so than I initially expected. With her earthy London accent, she relates every song to her story and experiences, with her song If the Lights Go Out a particularly poignant example – it brings back her childhood memories of the loss of electricity in her family home during the Georgian civil war. And what makes her music even more real?
"I've always loved travelling, so I relate my songs to what I see when I'm on the road" she tells us.
Katie's new album Secret Symphony is available now.