I’ve been an admirer of Alicia Keys since she first hit the music scene with Falling in 2001 and although my appreciation for her music has recently dwindled, this concert put it right back at the top of my list.
For me, many of the songs on her latest album were void of the deep soulful passion that made me first love and respect her mantra – I just felt like I couldn’t connect with them. Don’t get me wrong, I love Empire State of Mind, Try Sleeping With a broken Heart and Un-thinkable (I’m Ready) but more recently I’ve felt her songs were becoming far too commercial.
Alicia’s first concert in the UK in 2002 was one of the best concerts I’d been to (Black Eyed Peas and Cold Play also topping the list) but since then, it’s all been too heavy on the showbiz and light on the soul. Until now.
Like The Sea and Pray For Forgiveness were just some of the tunes Alicia belted out across the O2 whilst showcasing her skills on the piano. Whatever doubt I had in my mind about some of her more recent songs, watching her sing these live, as well as some true classics, made me realise that these songs were made to be sung on stage. If I wasn’t standing there watching Alicia in awe that night, then I was busy soulfully swaying along to her lyrics.
And the night wasn’t just about Alicia. Melanie Fiona, who sang Give It To Me Right, was the supporting act and Alicia’s backing singers sung solos which left the crowd standing in ovation.
For me, the concert brought back the best of Alicia Keys. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all perfect. She could tone down the shimmy dancing across the stage – she was never the best of dancers – and try and talk to the crowd more rather than at them. But this concert took us back to Alicia’s roots, her soul and her piano, and made me fall in love with Alicia Keys all over again.
Review by special guest reviewer – Naomi Goodman