Not gonna lie, I’m at a bit of a loss at how to start this one. There’s so many things swirling around in my head from this show and now I have to try and find a way to put these into words. I’m gonna try though.
So this was a concert that I’ve been looking forward to for a good while. I knew that I wanted to go to a show in Royal Albert Hall in my time in England but I wanted to go see an artist that I really liked and not just an artist that I kinda liked. Well in my research, I saw that Lianne LaHavas was performing there and I just knew it was meant to be. She’s a singer/songwriter from South London and I just love her. She’s got this sweet warm voice that still has some depth to it and an almost Badu-like quality to the vibrato at the end of her phrases. She’s been writing songs for years and they’re very simple but melodically interesting and lyrically intricate. I’d seen her name around the musicsphere before I got here but a few months ago a classmate of mine told me to check her out and goodness that’s one of the best recommendations I’ve had in a while.
So when I saw that she was performing at Royal Albert Hall, I knew that was my moment. I almost didn’t go because I had no one to go with me and I wasn’t sure if I would want to go to a show all by myself. But I did and I’m so glad I did.
Royal Albert Hall is one of the oldest live music venues in London and it is in my opinion one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. Built in the 1850s, it was built to be a part of the musical and cultural centre of Victorian London. Queen Victoria’s husband, Albert, had hoped for the theatre to be the crown jewel of this area of the city. However, he passed away before he could see its completion but Queen Victoria made sure the building would honour his memory. It’s built like a Roman Amphitheatre so everywhere you sit you can have a great view. The ceilings are high and sound can just fill the room. It’s an incredibly prestigious venue to play and English based acts often dream of playing in this beautiful room.
I first learned of this venue thanks to Emeli Sandé’s Live at Royal Albert Hall album. It was one of my first introductions to Emeli Sandé and the gorgeous venue in which it was recorded. So after watching that live recording multiple times, I determined that I needed to go to Royal Albert Hall. So I did.
Now to the good stuff! See here’s what was interesting: Lianne had a UK punk band open for her. At first, it didn’t really make sense to me. Then the band introduced themselves and they even admitted that they weren’t really sure why they were there but they were just gonna do them. I mean I can’t argue with that! They also said that Lianne herself asked them to open for her so if the artist herself is down then I guess I’m down too! Despite being caught off guard at the style, I actually enjoyed them. They did a good job!
Then it was time for the main event.
She walked out in a grey sparkly column gown, 6″ Louboutin heels and was plucking a gorgeous electric acoustic guitar. She walked to the mic and sang a very simple song. Her voice filled the room from the bottom to the top. She was calm, composed and and confident. By this point, I was just in awe. It was such a beautiful moment. In fact, I’m pretty sure it was my favourite moment of the entire show.
As she continued with the rest of the show, her voice soared and flew all around the room wrapping the audience in the sweet melodies and lush layers of the music. She had a nice mix of her faster, more upbeat songs and other softer acoustic songs. My favourite moments were when she would simply sing with her guitar. She wasn’t afraid of the intimacy of singing by herself, instead she flourished as she sang wholeheartedly.
One very sweet moment was when she invited the choir from her old college onstage to perform with her. It was such a cool thing to watch her remember her past and invite the group along for this moment of her journey. Her former music teacher was there as well and Lianne took a moment to celebrate her which was so great to see. It’s important to remember those who helped us get to where we are and to celebrate them. So to see her take the opportunity to do that was so lovely to see.
no room for doubt
I’ve always thought that dreams are nice but it feels like they’re impractical at times. Dreams are nice in theory but there’s a very high chance they won’t come true, so why bother? I’ve always doubted the idea of dreams coming true and I didn’t really allow myself to have any sort of outlandish ideas because I was fearful of appearing foolish. I have been fearful of making a mistake of dreaming because what if my hopes were dashed and I was left with the remains of this dream that I didn’t even get to see come to reality. Whether this is a healthy perspective or not is up for debate but one of the big things that I’ve been learning on this trip is to not be afraid of dreams. Watching the performance in that room was a dream come true.
I hadn’t realized it until I had taken a moment to close my eyes for a moment, only to open them and realize where I was. I was sitting in Royal Albert Hall, in London, listening to an artist that I’ve grown to admire in a very short time. I was forced to confront the fact that my dream had become my reality. As Ms. Lianne sang so beautifully:
Please sleep softly, leave me no room for doubt.
While her context may be more applied to a relationship, I felt in that moment that there was no room for me to doubt that dreams CAN in fact come true. That thing that I had thought could maybe happen did happen. And it was better than I ever could’ve expected.
So thank you Ms. LaHavas. You’ve helped me to not be afraid of my dreams.
Peace & Harmonies