Amy Macdonald @ Royal Festival Hall 6th November 2012

Adorable Scot Amy Macdonald had announced the Life In A Beautiful Light tour is conjunction with the new album of the same name. The tour was announced at the end of July and she was set to play at the Royal Festival Hall. I normally skip the seated venues as you cannot pick where you are seated (well you can on the Southbank website. But the time tickets would of gone on general sale the decent seats would of gone). Amy was an exception though. When I saw her at the ICA back in 2010 I enjoyed myself so much I was relishing seeing her perform again. So when the tour announcement was made it was also mentioned that there was a Fan Presale where the best seats would be going to the fans. So when the day came I got my presale ticket through Ticketmaster and as expected you couldn’t pick where you wanted to be. I amazingly got Row B Seat 22 which was literally dead centre and I was really happy about that. Fast forward to November 2012 I had already seen Amy perform at the BT London Live concert in August and I looked forward to hearing more of the new songs live. With it being seating I could turn up at 7pm, go to my seat and wait till the support was on stage.

Opening up the night was someone new to me. This being New York City born Kristina Train. Even though she released debut album Spilt Milk on Blue Note Records back in 2009, it was only this year I had started to hear good things about her. It was in fact a friend that mentioned about how good she was and the fact that the headline tour that was announced had been cancelled. So just seeing Kristina on the same bill as Amy Macdonald got me very excited. The genre of music that Train sings is a blend of Pop and Soul which works wonders. Train has been living in London for the past year and is currently signed to Mecury Records whom just released the sophomore album Dark Black. The set that was played was mainly a showcase of material from that album which had been released the prior day. Each song that was sung was impeccable and Train’s vocal abilities were strong/ powerful. Her vocals shone through. From what I had witnessed I most definitely want to see her perform live again in the future. Even though I enjoyed every song which were performed my highlights had to be Dream Of Me, Pins & Needles and Dark Black which was performed on Jools Holland.

SET LIST

Dream Of Me
Lonely Sinner
Saturdays Are The Greatest
Pins & Needles
Don’t Leave Me Here Alone
No One’s Gonna Love You
Stick Together
Dark Black

It was around 8.45 when Amy Macdonald took to the stage in front of a backdrop of traffic lights. She opened up with the current single and this being 4th Of July. I found this to be both beautiful and uplifting. This tune is about Macdonald’s love for New York City and the 4th of July is Independence Day in the U.S. Poison Prince was about how she feels about those talented musicians who dabble in drugs and before they know it, go from superstar to nothing. Even though this song was darker in tone compared to the light opener, Poison Price was phenomenally delivered at an up beat/ up tempo pace. “So whenever you go on tour you always have the big scary London show. I think every artist and band is exactly the same. Oh no it’s the London show. Everyone’s going to be there. I kind of forgot about it until I came on and then I thought ah shite. So hopefully you guys will make us feel very welcome. So it’s been like 2 years since I done my last headline London gig. So it’s good to be back here. I spend a lot of time here anyway. Yesterday I went to watch Andy Murray at the Tennis. Actually invited there by his mother. So I felt very special. Although on the TV camera footage, when it panned in on me I was told that I was referred to as his opponents wife which was a bit strange. I will take it though” Amy then said to the sold out Royal Festival Hall before embarking on another song from début album This Is The Life and this being L.A. This was an uplifting song with verses which were upbeat. Straight after it was onto something from the sophomore LP A Curious Thing and this being Spark. This was rather pacey with lyrics that were delivered to perfection. Spark was a hit with the rest of the audience as everyone clapped along in unison throughout it. “So back in the summer I released my new album. Thanks to you guys it got to number 2. Only pipped by Gary Barlow. This is a song that I for once didn’t write for myself. So it’s not about me and it’s not about anyone I know. I had somebody else in mind when I wrote it. I thought maybe I’ll get them to sing it. But I’m keeping that a secret” Macdonald said before tackling something else from the new album and this being The Game. This song tackled the difficult prospect of fame that comes hand in hand with a successful music career. The Game was an epic song which was both incredible and powerful at the same time.

Mr Rock & Roll was next and this being a pacey Indie Rock song which was breezed through at ease. I found this to be an upbeat/ up tempo tune with infectious lyrics that easily got me moving out of my seat. “So when you’re playing at a seated venue. The challenge is always Right when can you get them off their bums and standing up? A lot of you have done very well but there’s still a lot of absolutely lazy. I won’t carry on. So we’re going to do a song now which was the first single off of my new album. In the middle of it there’s a bit that sounds really great if people can sing along. So those of you that stayed on your bums should redeem yourself and show off your wonderful singing skills” Amy mentioned before the lead single from album Life In A Beautiful Light and this being the addictive Slow It Down. I found this to be utterly contagious, delivered at a fast pace and it also has killer lyrics “I guess I’ve been running round town leaving my tracks, burning out rubber, Driving too fast but I’ve gotta slow right down, Back to the moment the very start, from the very first day you had my heart but I’ve gotta slow right down”. Everyone stood up for this one and sang along to its chorus. “We needed a little interlude there. Enough time to make up with the big budget drum kit. We are spending the big bucks now guys. We’re going to do a little set within a set. Just to keep it interesting. So like for now it’s just me and you guys and this is an acoustic version of a song called Love Love” Macdonald said before doing something very intriguing and this was to be another set but fully acoustic. This stripped back version of Love Love was delivered at a sleek pace along with beautiful/ strong vocals.

“So the great thing about going on loads of tours and doing loads of live shows is that you can totally mix up the songs and we’ve done that with this next song. On my album it’s really big, bold, drums, a lot of everything on there but we’re going to do now totally stripped back” Amy said before another song from A Curious Thing and this being Give It All Up. For this song Macdonald had put her guitar down to deliver an extraordinary take on this song. Firstly it showcased her strong and spine tingling vocals. “In 2010 I released my 2nd album. This song was on that album and this is just a little random known fact which I’m quite proud of. So I’m going to share with you. This song was the most played song on Radio 2 in the time 2010. There was 1 artist who was played more than me on said station in 2010. Don’t know if you’ve heard of them but they’re a band called The Beatles” she then said before diving into another song from the sophomore album. This Pretty Face was a steady paced song but strong at the same time. When the song progressed the pace picked up. “When we walked into the dressing room today there was a beautiful, big, Steinway grand piano in there. Before we came on we were all standing around it. Doing a lot of warm up songs. They always vary. Tonight we had some of The Eagles, some of. I don’t know the name of the song but In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight. As you can tell we’ve all got amazing taste. So the next song we’re going to play was a song that we used to warm up to. We would always play it before we did a show” Amy then said before tackling Jackie Wilson’s (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher. I must say that she made this song her own. The vocals were powerful and plenty of soul oozed from it. When Macdonald had finished the acoustic set it was then onto the full band. This 3rd set kicked off with Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over. This was another song which was a mixture of Indie and Rock which worked wonders. The song itself was the lead track from A Curious Thing. I rather liked its lyrics.

“This next song we’re going to play is a song I wrote about Glasgow. As you know, this accent isn’t local. It’s from 400 miles up the road. Glasgow always gets such a bad write up. I don’t know if you’ve seen Ross Kemp in his bloody ridiculous. I think to quote Ross Kemp I’ve been to Afghanistan but nothing is worse than Glasgow. Are you kidding me on? He’s on something. This is a song I wrote about the lovely side of Glasgow and the romantic feelings that I have towards my city” Amy said before The Green & The Blue. This song was an optimistic ode to the rivalry between Celtic and Rangers “But the green and the blue come between me and you. On a Saturday Afternoon”. No Roots was powerful and started off steady pace but as soon as the drums kick in the pace is cranked up. The title of the sophomore album A Curious Thing featured as a lyric in this song. No Roots showed off Amy’s startling vocals. “So I was very, very fortunate this year to be a little bit involved with the Olympics. It actually made me feel really guilty being surrounded by Gold medal winning athletes and I hadn’t done any exercise for like 6 months. Trying to have a conversation with Chris Hoy, I had nothing to talk about. Absolutely nothing in common. I don’t think Chris Hoy has McDonald’s on a Sunday morning when he’s feeling totally hungover. I went along to the parade, the athletes parade and I got very kindly asked by the organisers if I would kick it all off and sing this next song. When I wrote this song it was completely unintentional. It was a couple of years before the Olympics were even here but it had the word torch in it. And I think people hear the word torch and go Olympics. I’d never even thought about it. I didn’t even twig until the Olympics were here. But this song is actually about Scotland. The complete opposite. I’ve actually been offered the Scotland job so this maybe my last ever show. I could clearly do a better job than Craig Levein” Amy then said before going into the 2nd single from Life In A Beautiful Light and this being Pride. This beautiful song was written about when Amy performed to 50,000 people at Hampden Park. Pride was a cheery infectious song which had lovely verses aided by a luscious chorus “’Cause I’d move mountains if you asked me to, I’ll swim the seven seas, I’ll be the one to hold your torch again, I’ll do anything you asked of me”. Run was next up. This was a flawless song with a chorus which was literally belted out. Run was an incredible song which everyone was on their feet for. During this tune the whole Royal Festival Hall started to clap in unison. “Thank you so much to you guys this evening. You’ve been absolutely wonderful and it’s been an absolute pleasure to perform here again in London and I hope it’s not as long as 2 years until the next time” Macdonald said before diving into This Is The Life. This was one phenomenal song which oozed plenty of energy. The whole of Royal Festival Hall remained standing. This Is The Life was rather pacey and had catchy lyrics. I found this to be a mixture of Folk and Rock. “Thank you so much. We’re going to finish with the title track of my album” Amy then said before capping off this enchanting night with Life In A Beautiful Light. I found this sublime tune to be rather beautiful and its mellowing lyrics were infectious. Once over Amy and the rest of the band left the stage only to return minutes later as people were wanting an encore. “We’ve got some Gin now. Totally living up to the Scottish stereotype. Had enough of that water stuff. Thank you so much guys for coming along this evening. You’ve been absolutely great, on your feet from the very beginning and just making our lives so easy and it’s just been absolutely amazing to play for you” Macdonald mentioned before kicking off the encore with the whimsical The Furthest Star. This song sent shivers up my spine and showcased Amy’s vocals perfectly. The Furthest Star was mellowing and it was delivered at a steady pace. Barrowland Ballroom was played straight after. The song itself was played at a fast pace and it was upbeat at the same time. Barrowland Ballroom which was taken from the début album had a tinge of Rock to it. Let’s Start A Band ended this fantastic evening. I loved the verses and chorus of this song. It may be steady paced but it is ever so strong. Amy’s vocals were so powerful which resulted in her delivering this song perfectly.

SET LIST

4th Of July
Poison Prince
LA
Spark
The Game
Mr Rock & Roll
Slow It Down

ACOUSTIC

Love Love
Give It All Up
The Pretty Face
(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher

BAND

Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over
The Green & The Blue
No Roots
Pride
Run
This Is The Life
Life In A Beautiful Light

ENCORE

The Furthest Star
Barrowland Ballroom
Let’s Start A Band

OVERALL: I rather enjoyed my time at Royal Festival Hall. Prior to the show I was worrying about my seat due to the fact I thought would I be able to see as there would be a row directly in front of me. Thankfully I could see perfectly.

First of all support act Kristina Train was an incredible artist who I most definitely will see in the future. When a headline tour is announced I am so there. I can see that supporting Amy would win her some new fans which is wonderful. Also the fact that she appeared on Jools Holland would of benefited her. I have seen Macdonald quite a few times over the past 5 years and I would go as far to say Kristina Train is by far the best artist that has supported her.

Finally as for Amy Macdonald, words cannot describe how superb she actually was. Each song which was performed on the night was completely flawless and utterly addictive as well. I really liked the combination of new and old songs. The fact she performed an acoustic set during the middle of her actual set was pure genius.

Amy has something incredibly special. After you see her once you want to see her again. Whenever I have seen her live, the music which has been performed makes me feel happy inside.

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