Date: 11 May 2017
Venue: Union Chapel, London
Words and photography: Victoria Ling (Victoria@137imaging.co.uk)
Having released her album of male covers aptly titled ‘Male‘ in 2015, Natalie Imbruglia toured as a support to Simply Red but never quite got on the road herself. Fast forward to May this year and she finally hit the road for her own headline tour around Europe, with an extra date added to London as tickets for the first date were like hot cakes and sold out Union Chapel almost too quickly.
I was very excited for this gig, as although Imbruglia’s career has been going strong since her first single, and absolute anthem ‘Torn’ in 1997, I have only seen her live as support, so I was pretty ecstatic when my friend and I got tickets. We arrived just before 6pm and the queue to the venue was already the full length of the street. There was a definite buzz in the London air. As soon as people took to their pews they were beaming as Union Chapel had you in awe.
As lights went down and the band took to their places the introduction had the audience on tenterhooks then there was a pause and Ms Imbruglia stepped onto the ‘stage’ with a ‘good evening’ to the crowd who were half and half ‘do we sit or do we stand’ in the church as ‘Wrong Direction’ started the night. As pews were quite tight we were in the mutual feeling to stay seated but that did not dampen the mood and when we were urged we clapped and sang along moving our bodies as much as we could. There really could not have been a more perfect venue to match the sounds of this Acoustic Tour, as people murmured around me, “I knew she could sing but she just sounds so much better,” as hits from all her albums were being delivered to us, such as ‘Stuck On The Moon’ and then breaking hearts into a million beautiful pieces was the cover of Death Cab For Cutie’s ‘I’ll Follow You Into The Dark.’ And this was just the first three songs. With every song there was a little story and with every story there was a whoop from the audience. I could feel the excitement of those around me when their favourites were played.
A few surprises came and very welcome ones at that. Before the show many of us were discussing what we were hoping she would play and considering her favourite single non-single is ‘Smoke’ that of course made it in, much to the delight of those sitting right next to me. ‘Lukas,’ to me, was the biggest surprise of them all, as it comes from the not so critically acclaimed ‘Come To Life’ album. When you hear this live you do sometimes wonder how critics get to make a living, as it was delivered to perfection. And of course the 90s stomper ‘Torn’ was performed and gave us the biggest sing-along of the night. My personal all-time favourite Natalie Imbruglia song is ‘Beauty on the Fire.’ Unfortunately, the element of surprise was slightly dampened as people had told me it was on the list but when it finally came, the fire inside of me was ablaze and it was one of those moments where nothing else mattered but Ms Imbruglia singing that song live in the same room as myself.
Of course, definitely ready for anything on this night but the setting as beautiful as it was made us feel a bit restricted in terms of getting up on our feet, but in hindsight it also made it a beautiful affair as we sat and admired the true beauty of the setting and witnessing Ms Imbruglia strip back her songs for us. Then after a lot of foot stomping and echoes for more, we really could not sit still any longer, as she returned to give us the beautiful ‘Butterflies’ to the slightly more upbeat ‘Intuition’, then ending the night on ‘Big Mistake’ – which was far from a big mistake.
I have enjoyed many concerts and a few I walk away saying that was one of the best but this night definitely was, as I have never sat through a gig smiling from ear to ear from the moment I walked into a venue to leaving. Natalie Imbruglia is one of those artists that really does not get as much credit as she deserves and on the huge success of this tour, I really hope we get to hear and or course, see her live more.
Through the eyes of Lil Vik