Sophie Ellis-Bextor at the Union Chapel was a gig I was rather looking forward to. If I remember correctly this was announced after the Bush Hall date sold out. Basically this date would be part of the Wanderlust tour. Due to phenomenal demand a second night at the Chapel was added which took quite a while to sell out. Booking back in November was slightly risky because I didn’t know what the new album would sound like. But the Union Chapel is such a wonderful place and I was left spellbound when Sophie performed a couple of songs there back in 2012 (one in fact was Young Blood). After having attended the album launch at Bush Hall in January I was left blown away by how amazing Wanderlust actually is. There is not a single bad track on that record.
Fast forward to April. I arrive at the Chapel around 4.30pm to find there are already 5 people queueing. It was slightly annoying that there was another priority queue for members of the Union Chapel. So it had just past 7pm when the doors opened. It did make me slightly anxious when there were about 10 people in the other queue as they were let in first. Thankfully I managed to get my front row pew which was towards the edge of the stage. The headline set started at 9pm. The whole band took to the stage followed by Sophie moments later. What opened up proceedings was Birth Of An Empire which also serves as the opener on the current album Wanderlust. With the use of violins gave this tune an Eastern European feel to it. Ellis-Bextor was wearing a red dress which displayed a couple of figures along with the word Wanderlust. I found Birth Of An Empire to be rather enchanting. It was played at a steady pace and the vocals were pure perfection. Straight after it was onto Until The Stars Collide. This was a beautiful ballad which was spectacular live. Like the opening number you also had strings that worked wonders. Until The Stars Collide was one incredible number which had been written to perfection. Also it was very hypnotising. Runaway Daydreamer followed on and it is by far my favourite tune from Wanderlust. Basically the hairs on the back of my neck stood on edge. Runaway Daydreamer was a whimsical tune with gorgeous entrancing lyrics. After it was onto something which oozed pop vibes and this being The Deer And The Wolf which in my eyes has to be a future single. It was played at a fast tempo and it was extremely upbeat at the same time. Everything about this was fantastic the lyrics and the vocal delivery easily gets you moving. “This is the 1st tour I have done in 3 years which is too long. It’s been so lovely to come back out” Sophie then told the sold out chapel before saying she wanted to do something different and the fact she had been thinking about this night for ages. It was then onto the most honest single that Sophie has released and this being Young Blood. I remember when I first heard it live at Union Chapel and I was left completely stunned. Now this was an entrancing beautiful ballad which was sang perfectly. Young Blood was mellowing and everything about it was simply faultless. It was then onto something special and something which was a first. This being When The Storm Blows Over. Other than the acoustic guitar you also had Mara Carlyle on the saw. I must say this was simply extraordinary. Sophie could of easily sung this as an a capella and the use of the saw was simply spine tingling. I’m Not Good At Getting What I Want was next and this featured on the sophomore LP Shoot From The Hip. It was the first time for me hearing it live and it left me spellbound. Now this was an album track and sounded faultless live. Actually it was both dreamy and gentle as well.
Wrong Side Of The Sun was simply epic. It was flawless and spectacularly delivered. It had been perfectly written and was slightly infectious at the same time. It was then onto something from Lustre and this being When The Lost Don’t Want To Be Found. Wait I hear you say Sophie didn’t have an album called Lustre. Now this was an Ed Harcourt song and Ellis-Bextor lent her mesmerising vocals. Now I love Harcourt’s music and this was majestic but I cant help but think it would have been better to of sang something else from Sophie’s discography. I was left lost for words. Ed’s vocals were strong whilst Sophie’s harmonising softened everything out. It was then onto something special and this being the fact her children surprised her with a birthday cake and the whole Union Chapel sang happy birthday. The tune that followed was the high octane rock infused 13 Little Dolls. Whenever I hear this I immediately think of the Russian Dolls you can get. Love Is A Camera started off as a waltz. It was extremely eerie as it is about a Witch who steals souls when using a camera. I have to say that this was a complete cracker. It shows that Sophie can write about anything resulting in a corker. I rather adored it when the pace was cranked up towards the end. Things then were wrapped up with Cry To The Beat Of The Band. Words cannot describe how incredible this set closer actually was. The beat was extraordinary and it was one which makes you want to move.
Once Sophie Ellis-Bextor and band left the stage everyone was left with the thirst for more. So when Sophie graced the stage after a costume change it was then onto her Medley consisting of originals and covers. This being Take Me Home/ Lady/ Groovejet/ Sing It Back. Now Lady was a Modjo song, Sing It Back was by Moloko, Groovejet was by Spiller which Sophie featured on and Take Me Home was her début single. Basically everyone was on their feet for the encore having a good boogie. I must admit this Medley was completely spotless and the infusions were unnoticeable. Nearing the end of this impeccable Medley Sophie introduced the rest of the band. The second offering of the encore was Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer). This was a Freemasons song which Sophie featured on. Also it featured on the 4th LP Make A Scene. Disco vibes oozed from this and it was strongly delivered. You just wanted to jump up and down to this incredible tune. Things then ended with the 2nd ever Sophie single and this being Murder On The Dancefloor. This was so mesmerising and infectious at the same time. There certainly was no murder on this dancefloor. The song itself ended what had been a spectacular night which makes me anticipate when she is back in London. When Ellis Bextor left the stage I thought that was your lot. Sophie was making her way to what I had thought was the merchandise desk. Only that wasn’t the case. Sophie went to the balcony to sing the short interlude as an acapella. Richard Jones (the guitarist in Sophie’s band who is also her husband) had to get everyone to hush while Sophie sang this. Interlude was simply spine tingling.
Birth Of An Empire
Until The Stars Collide
The Deer And The Wolf
When The Storm Blows Over
I’m Not Good At Getting What I Want
Wrong Side Of The Sun
When The Lost Don’t Want To Be Found
13 Little Dolls
Love Is A Camera
Cry To The Beat Of The Band
Take Me Home/ Lady/ Groovejet/ Sing It Back
Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer)
Murder On The Dancefloor
OVERALL: This gig was extraordinary. Not only was Sophie amazing but the support from Us Baby Bear Bones were as well.
Wanderlust is a masterpiece. Each track is excellent and the same applies to when hearing them live. It was nice hearing the whole album performed yet again which I reckon is a first as album tours don’t really feature the whole album from start to end. It would of been nice to have a few more old songs performed live but I am not one to complain as what was showcased was pure bliss.
As promised Sophie went to merch after to sign items. By the time she came out was 10.45pm and there was a massive line of people wanting to meet her. I was near the front so I said a hi and happy birthday got a picture and left. I wonder if everyone did see Sophie or were people chucked out at 11pm??