2008 was a great year for live music, with many of the U.K’s biggest names performing successful gigs around the U.K. Visitors to the 02 Arena in London last November, were treated to a first class show from singer-songwriter Katie Melua.
The show was recorded for Vinyl and CD release, and will hit the shelves on May 18th. It’s a celebration of the international success Katie Melua has achieved since releasing her debut album in 2003, and features many of her well known hits, some of which she wrote herself. Facts aside, it’s time to slot the C.D into the player, and review my first full scale Katie Melua listening experience.
The first three songs Katie performed on her own, with an electric guitar or piano for accompaniment. These simple, solo arrangements were familiar territory for me, after what I’d heard in the past. I was expecting something quite haunting and mysterious, and that’s exactly what I got. The stripped down songs were also a good showcase for her distinctive vocals, and more interestingly her native Georgian language, which she used on the song Kviteli Potlebi (Yellow Leaves).
I got quite caught up in the mood and tempo of these songs, so it came as a surprise when Katie’s six piece band started playing, though the change in tempo was certainly enjoyable. What followed was a selection of Jazz and Blues inspired tracks; well written songs with strong hooks and melodies. Of these, my favourite was ‘Perfect Circle’, which is the sort of song I would sing along to. The infectious music was coupled with some well crafted lyrical phrases, such as “even when I’m walking straight, I always end up in a perfect circle”. ‘Blues In The Night’ also stood out as a classic blues tribute, while ‘Spiders Web’ had a very powerful vocal. The track I didn’t really know what to make of, was Ghost Town. The title and lyrics would suggest something haunting or reflective, yet the mood reminded me more of a chilled out tropical holiday. I’m undecided on that one, though I certainly enjoyed hearing new arrangements for ‘Nine Million Bicycles’ and ‘Closest Thing To Crazy’ which came at the end of the C.D.
All in all, this live album was certainly the celebration it promised to be, and there’s no denying Katie Melua is a unique talent, which will hopefully see her succeed on the Jazz and Blues scene for many years to come.
For more information about Katie visit www.katiemelua.com
Katie Melua Live At The 02 is available from all the usual music outlets from May 18th.