Last Friday night (April 11) I was lucky enough to be given a ticket from a friend to Corinne Bailey Rae for my birthday. The venue was the fabulous Commodore Ballroom on Granville Street; an art deco building with a famed springy dance floor (apparently horse hair underneath the boards gives bounce to the floor). Shawna and I arrived an hour before doors opened; eager to score a booth where we could sit and relax, drink in hand, through the support bands. Our mission was a success – we settled into a table right at the front and to the left of the stage.
At 9:30, Overtone started the night’s entertainment, their choreographed entrance causing Shawna and I to look at each other, groaning, both of us thinking it was a cheesy boy band. After only a few seconds, however, we were blown away by the vocal talent of the 7-piece a cappella group from South Africa, who, with nothing but their voices, recreated sounds of artists such as Lady Gaga and George Michael, as well as some of their own music (you may recognize a few of their songs from the Invictus soundtrack).
The second support band (whose name escapes me), was talented, but not as crowd-pleasing; especially as we were all anxious to see who we came to watch. At almost 11pm, Corinne’s set began and I forgot all about how tired I was. Her voice is so sweet and beautiful; the kind of sound that makes me want to put on a floaty, floral dress and spin whimsically in a field in late afternoon sunlight (yes, I am serious!). Corinne performed a number of songs from her new album, The Sea, which I hadn’t heard much of prior to the concert, but which I am now in love with. The sound is more poignant than her self-titled first album, and features some beautiful songs like ‘Paris Nights/New York Mornings’ and ‘The Sea’.
Of course Corinne played the much anticipated crowd pleasing songs: ‘Put Your Records On’ and ‘Like a Star’, and pleased we were! Not only is Corinne a brilliantly talented musician, but she is also charming, constantly smiling, dainty and beautiful. Special mentions need to be made for her fantastic big hair (perfectly proportionate on her tiny frame) as well as her amazing outfit: an indigo jumpsuit that would look horrific on most, but looked like it was made with her in mind.
The concert was closed with an encore; a beautiful and soulful rendition of Doris Day’s Que Sera, Sera. It was a perfect end to a magical performance – thanks so much Shawna for the best birthday present ever!
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