Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Alicia Keys "Freedom" Tour London, England O2 Arena Concert Recap
As reported by John Aizlewood / London's Evening Standard
As globe-straddling divas go, there are none less diva-like than Alicia Keys. In a glitzy world of Gagas, Beyoncés, Madonnas, Rihannas and Mariahs, Keys keeps her clothes on and stands out by virtue of what she doesn’t do.
So, last night (Tuesday, May 25), she didn’t do anything especially eccentric — unless having a tubby, bespectacled, kilt-wearing bassist counts — and of her three outfits, two were so dowdy there might be something in those pregnancy rumours, or else Tehran is her Freedom tour’s next stop.
Her stage show was on the unspectacular side of spectacular, and having four keyboards to choose from (including a guitar-style one shaped like a key), she didn’t bother with choreography, leaving that to a gurning dancer who seemed to be tasked with invading her body space throughout the evening. And yet, if we do the honourable thing and ignore what seemed to be Keys’s platitude-related Tourette syndrome (“The most important thing about love is being able to love ourselves... I want you to be a rebel with me tonight...” etc, etc) she triumphed — and triumphed gloriously — with a masterfully judged mix of strength of will and power of song.
Consequently, platitudes notwithstanding, Keys exuded authenticity, and on ballads such as Like The Sea and Pray For Forgiveness she had the precious knack of making the O2 suddenly seem very intimate indeed.
Backed by a crack band attuned to her every nuance and a trio of superlative backing singers, she could do tear-stained epic in the grandstanding Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart, and exuberant up-tempo on the clattering, percussion-propelled Wait ’Til You See My Smile.
Even without Beyoncé, their Put It In A Love Song duet was heady pop at its most hip-wiggling.
The best came last. Her co-write with Jay-Z, Empire State Of Mind, already has the unmistakable feel of a 21st-century standard.
As she delivered it in almost hymnal fashion, for a genuinely emotional moment it felt as if we were all children of the Five Boroughs. She may be short on diva-esque style, but Alicia Keys is all substance.
Getty Images 1
Getty Images 2
WENN Photo 1
WENN Photo 2
Alicia Keys 2010 Element of Freedom Tour Dates:
5/26 - London, UK - The O2 - London
5/29 - Manchester, UK - Manchester Evening News Arena
5/31 - Paris, France - Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy
6/2 - Barcelona, Spain - Palau Sant Jordi
6/4 - Lyon, France - Halle Tony Garnier
(video courtesy of KaFicagna)