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LIVE REVIEW: Ledisi @ Bush Hall, London


Grammy nominated songstress Ledisi performed at London’s Bush Hall last week as part of her whistle-stop European tour promoting her latest release, Turn Me Loose. I’ve been a fan of Ledisi since I stumbled across her ‘breakthrough’ album Lost & Found, and I’ve since gone on to get her hard-to-find Soulsinger and Feeling Orange But Sometimes Blue albums.

When it was announced that she would be playing a single UK date, I decided I had to be there and purchased the tickets on release day, which meant I had to wait about a month for the date to come round. Well I can say without a shadow of doubt …. it was well worth the wait.

We arrived at the venue around 7.45pm to ensure we got a good spot. This was my first time attending a show at Bush Hall and I was impressed. The relatively small hall, with it’s plush carpets and chandeliers was a welcome change from the usual venues, and provided a welcoming, relaxed and intimate atmosphere. There was no support act, just a DJ, however the lady herself was due on stage at 9pm so the wait was fine.

When the band emerged at just after 9pm, the crowd grew excited, and when Ledisi came out in a black, Tina Turner-esque tassled dress the fans in the audience welcomed her with a huge round of applause and some shouts of encouragement. She kicked things off with ‘Get To Know You’ off of Lost & Found and the crowd were in awe. Most in attendance would not have seen Ledisi perform live before (as far as I know this was her first UK gig apart from an appearance at Southport Weekender a few years back), however the way the audience got into the opener you would have thought she was a firm favourite on the London scene.

What was particularly pleasing about the show was that she covered a range of material. Most the standout tracks from Lost & Found and Turn Me Loose were sung, aswell as a very welcome rendition of ‘Get Outta My Kitchen’ from Soulsinger. I attended the show with my parents and partner, all of whom were not really familiar with her material, however it only took a couple of songs before they were sold. My partner described her as a mix between Whitney Houston, Tina Turner and Whoopi Goldberg (the latter due to her very funny audience interactions), which I thought was appropriate. Not that she sounds like Whitney or Tina, but she has one hell of a voice and knows how to add a little ‘funk’ to her performance.

There were two songs I wanted to hear in particular on the night, my favourite Ledisi track, ‘Think Of You’, and the beautiful ‘In The Morning’. Thankfully she obliged on both counts and I can honestly say she sounded better than the CD recordings, her voice was crystal clear, her energy was outstanding and her trademark scatting was on top form, much to the crowds delight. I really wish that the whole night would have been recorded and released as a live album, it was that good.

As the show came to an end there was no doubt at all that those who had paid for their tickets were going home happy … as she exited the stage there were calls for more and she didn’t disappoint, coming back on for a rousing performance of ‘Them Changes’ which capped of a perfect evening.

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