English soul siren Rebecca Ferguson perched herself in front of a makeshift bar on stage at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire last night with a cup of tea. Ladies and gentlequeens, that is how you open a show with class.
(Photo via Rebecca Ferguson‘s Facebook page, taken by a fellow concert-goer.)
There was no denying that every single person in the room came for the pleasure of hearing Rebecca’s timeless voice in action as she takes us through gems from her second album Freedom.
But having said that, the one question I’ve been asked by those who have followed Rebecca’s journey on the X Factor is, “Did she look nervous?” (It also didn’t help that she tweeted that she was feeling both “nervous and excited” minutes before hitting the stage.)
It has been over three years since she auditioned for the talent show with her eyes closed and since then, Rebecca has written and delivered a debut album that sold over a million copies worldwide.
There is a lot of good will around this woman and people are keen to know if she has developed more confidence performing on stage – particularly now that she’s singing her own material.
While Rebecca’s vocals were tremendously powerful, it took a few songs before she got into the swing of things and really turned the party.
‘Fake Smile’ and ‘I Hope’ – the strongest cuts on her new album – probably didn’t get the kick they deserved having been performed so early in the show.
One of the biggest moments for me was when she launched into ‘We’ll Be Fine’. I was pretty much flooded with tears the second she belted the chorus. The uplifting track holds such a special place in my heart – you have no idea. I just remember playing it constantly during my first month in London every time I was feeling homesick.
The songs on Rebecca’s new album are carried on the back of heavy life lessons learned. So it’s impossible to not feel your heart bleed a little when she stands and delivers deeply personal numbers like ‘Freedom’ and ‘My Freedom’.
Having said that, I think the show would’ve had greater impact if Rebecca had mixed more tracks from her first album into the first half of her show, instead of keeping them as separate as night and day.
Rebecca is a one-of-a-kind vocalist but she’s no different to any other performer. She feeds off the crowd’s energy and therefore, she should probably tweak the setlist to bring in songs people are familiar with early on.
You feel a breakthrough halfway into the show when she takes on Katy Perry‘s ‘Roar’ followed by her sassy hit single ‘Backtrack’. It was like a shot of adrenalin. You can tell that she was really enjoying herself and was living for the audience’s reaction.
The energy was almost through the roof when she nailed a stunning, funk-driven rendition of Prince‘s ‘Raspberry Beret’. Seriously, why isn’t this on iTunes already?
Contrary to some murmurs from concert-goers after the show, I don’t think Rebecca actually lacks stage confidence. She knows she’s the shit and she never fails to deliver what we came for. What she probably needs is a little stage direction and a tighter setlist. A more engaging mix that unites the best of both albums, and delivers moments that befit her talents as a singer and songwriter.
Wanna catch Rebecca Ferguson in concert? Check out the following UK tour dates.