Nerina Pallot always said this night would be special and it was just that. The evening started for me at 4pm. The first people there were the usual Nerina fans. So we just stood in the middle of both doors because we did not know which was the right door that would open. Nearing 7pm queues were forming from both sides and everyone on the left hand side were told to move to the right hand side where the queue was substantial. Needless to say no one moved. So when the doors opened everyone started pouring in. Being right at the front of the queue I managed to head for the first row pews. At times the pews can be very uncomfortable. Cushions are really needed. Still after having seen the video of the rehersal it completely wetted my appetite after having seen that there would be a string section and horn section. Gigs in a church are always special because the acoustics are amazing and the use of a microphone isn’t needed. When over at the merchandise stall a glance at the set list for Nerina did cause a bit of excitement and I knew everyone was in for a right treat. The support act Braxton Hix was a complete surprise to what I was expecting. When waiting outside I thought it was a male solo singer. There was also some discussion that it is a term for premature contractions. Braxton Hix was actually the name of the duo whom were Ben Parker & Kate Aumonier. The 7 songs sung during that set were easy on the ear and perfectly listenable too. The style was acoustic/ folk and it worked well. Ben was on guitar, Kate was on vocals. They are a band I would most definitely check out again and I would really like to hear more music buy them. Kate mentioned that they had written the set list on a paper plate and then Ben announced that they had just 20 CD’s on the merch stall. They were CDR’s with no artwork.
After the set had finished there was a sense of excitement from the people in the first couple of pews over a certain special guest. The set list was exciting there were several exclusions that I was surprised about but still that didn’t spoil what was to be a incredible night. Nerina came on wearing a yellow dress and took her place at the piano for the first song God Of Small Things. This is a beautiful song and it slightly reminds me of Samson by Regina Spektor. It was then followed on by If I Know You. This song is taken from the debut LP Dear Frustrated Superstar which was an album that had been disregarded for sometime. Again it was another beautiful song and one that I have fallen in love with. There is something magical about Nerina and special as well. After the two solo songs it was onto the rambling which I adore so much. Nerina’s banter is brilliant and the rest of the audience loved it. Well she went onto say that with it being a chapel you would feel cheated if the songs were watered down minus swear words. Needless to say that did not happen and what were played were the exact songs sung on the albums there were no PG rated songs. The band then were introduced and it was truly a spectacle.
The following song was the beautiful Idaho. This was played at a steady pace and was powerful as well. After she got up off the piano and went straight to the microphone for Mr King. This is a slow song which gathers pace and gets more powerful when it is progresses. There is something that makes a chill go up your spine. The use of violins and a flute was incredible. It is a take of the song that you will never see live again. It was then onto the first single taken from the current album The Graduate. This being Real Late Starter. This song is extremely uptempo and Nerina just launched into it. The beat is fantastic and you just want to tap your toe to it. The song was blitzed through and the lyrics especially the chorus is tremendous. Fires track Nickindia followed on and it was incredible. First time I had heard it live and the acoustics were amazing. A chill went up my spine the use of a full band adds to the emphasis of the song. Nerina’s vocals were extremely powerful. Next it was a brand new song that has found its way onto the current set list for this recent tour. What I liked was the fact Nerina told us the story behind the song and mentioned that this was “Eurovision disco that is camper than Christmas”. She was spot on Put Your Hands Up was an infectious disco number. The chorus is ever so catchy and it would most definitely have you singing along. Following on was the Ricki Lee Jones song Skeletons which features on the Skeleton Key EP. There is then a bit of banter where Nerina says “this song makes me sob as it’s based on a real story” then “if I don’t sob I’m doing well”. It is a beautiful song and I can understand why it would make Nerina sob. Before the song she mentioned she wished she had written it herself.
So after a huge round of applause it was onto the next song. In fact the following three songs were taken from the current LP The Graduate. The first being It Starts which was a beautiful song which was delivered faultlessly. For Cigarette it was onto the acoustic guitar which she played wonderfully. Nerina even mentioned she was excited to play this song the vocals are both outstanding and haunting. The choir added more emphasis on the song and it sounded truly epic. Once over it was back to the grand piano for When Did I Become Such A Bitch. Even though she informed the crowd that she was always a bitch, I can categorically say that from the persona given off Nerina is the most politest person you will ever have the pleasure of meeting. Still the horn section was incredible. It well and truly made each song that little bit special. After The Graduate tracks it was then onto Everybody’s Gone To War which was Pallot’s biggest hit. Still seeing a solo Nerina strumming away on her guitar is a real treat. To be honest I don’t think the use of microphones were needed as the vocals were so powerful. The beautiful Human followed and it was sung by Nerina and a male vocal which was provided by Mark. The audience were captivated and hooked on every single word. The next song was the one that had many people excited. Would it be a duet? I asked myself. This song being Put It Back Together Again.
Before the actual song there was a bit of banter “I just had to consult my set list but I believe I am about to introduce a very special guest and I am excited that she is her”. Nerina then went onto say that the song she wrote was very dear and special but she couldn’t make a good version of the song. When Nerina then went onto say “I cant see you from were I am, so I don’t know if I am about to introduce someone and they will be a phantom. That quip had everyone in stitches. When Diana came onstage the audience erupted. Words cannot describe how amazing this song was. Nerina on piano, Diana on vocals and a backing band is enough to send shivers down your spine. Diana’s has a unique and delivers a strong vocal performance. She injected emotion into the song and you could believe that she meant every single word. Backing vocals were sung by Nerina and it is truly something you will never witness again. The song was one of the factors that made the evening really special.
The penultimate song on the night were the beautiful Geek Love which infact is a song about shagging. Finally the night ended with God which was taken from the debut release. Nerina goes onto say that she had never performed it live before as she wants it to sound just right. “If you know this song and been a fan of mine for years it means the world to me So thank you”. With the choir, strings and horns this song sounded both haunting and incredible. If Nerina had a vision of how the song should of sounded I reckon it would have been like this. Again it is a beautiful song. It was quite fitting that the opening number and the closing number featured the word God in the title. So after Nerina and the band went of the stage. There were chants of encore plus applause. Minutes later the strings section and Nerina return to the stage for what was to be a 2 song encore. My Last Tango was perfect the vocals were really strong. I love it when Nerina sings solo because her vocals are so strong. Ending proceedings was a favourite of mine this being Sophia. This again was another beautiful piano driven song. I could sit through Nerina singing live for hours and I know many more people would share that opinion. The vocals are both beautiful and powerful. I most definitely look forward to when she is next playing in London. After a storming 18 song set I was left wanting to hear more, I am looking forward to the day when I next witness her live. So once she had made her way off the stage I managed to nab the set list and made my way to the backstage entrance inside the chapel. There was already a small crowd arched around the entrance. Everyone was then told to move away and make their way to the merch stall as she may come out. So I then made my way over to the merch desk. There were plenty of other people that wanted to meet Nerina as well. Eventually she came out and got behind the stall where people wanted to get items signed. I was one of those people and I eventually got my set list and ticket signed. Also I had a couple of words with Nerina then left after having witnessed something spectacular.
God Of Small Things
If I Know You
Real Late Starter
Put Your Hands Up
When Did I Become Such A Bitch
Everybody’s Gone To War
Put It Back Together Again
My Last Tango
OVERALL: Myself and many other Nerina fans will probably agree that this was the best Nerina gig to date. Holding something like this in a chapel makes it extra special. The set list was brilliant even though songs such as Learning To Breathe, Coming Home, I Don’t Wanna Go Out or The Right Side weren’t featured. Those missing songs did not put a dampener on this epic night. From what I have read on the internet the set list was completely different that the set list at Leamington Spa the night before. The night was a triumph and many fans left happy. The bar has been set so high that I do not think Nerina will never top it. The new song Put Your Hands Up was fantastic and it must really feature on the 4th album. Still it was a brilliant night and I like gigs that you can say I was there because it was so special.
Photos of Nerina (except last one) and Diana taken by Justin Ng