Live Review

Imogen Heap, Edinburgh Picturehouse

For the most part, Imogen’s live performance is simply stunning.

Imogen Heap’s fanbase has somewhat diversified within the last few months. This is without doubt a controversial subject amongst fans of the singer, as it is often debated whether becoming more popular to a mainstream audience is ultimately beneficial towards an artist. Indeed, the air in the Picturehouse seemed to be visibly sucked out the room when, as Imogen Heap talked about taking fans suggestions for songs, a woman shrieked from the back of the venue and demanded she play ‘Hide And Seek’, the song sampled (and made very famous) by pop sensation Jason Derulo. However, despite this interesting clash between casual fans and the hardcore fanbase Heap has built up from her innovative instrumental and vocal style, Imogen Heap’s performance in Edinburgh remained a triumph, filled with audience interaction and a delightful atmosphere.

Opening with ‘The Walk’ from arguably Imogen’s most popular album, 2005’s Speak For Yourself, the fast-paced tune excites the crowd suitably after a long break between supports and the headline act. From the conclusion of this song onwards, Imogen brings the first of many personal touches to the show, engaging with the crowd and talking to them between every song - from the newest album tracks on ‘Ellipse’ inspired by family campfires, to the first tune she ever wrote, apparently an embarassing ode to her old music teacher. These anecdotes are entertaining and interesting in equal measure, and allow time for the audience to gather their thougths inbetween songs. The tunes themselves are, in true Imogen Heap form, innovative and beautiful. As she points out, mostly suggested by the crowd via an online poll, the were sure to keep the large audience satisfied.

There are a few odd choices however. Despite the delightful stage setup, featuring projected birds flying around a white tree, the song ‘Little Bird’ falls flat midway through the set, and it takes hits ‘Goodnight & Go’ and ‘Headlock’ to revive it. However, for every ‘Between Sheets’ that doesn’t work, there are two or three ‘Just For Now’s, featuring brilliant crowd response as part of the song, to bring the audience back around. Imogen also, at times, seems slightly disconnected from the audience: there are moments where it feels as though she’s going through the motions, be it out of tiredness or mental distraction.

However, for the most part, Imogen’s live performance is simply stunning. Featuring a connection with the audience never even attempted by the majority of bands, and a stage setup with a massive list of effects and lighting techniques, along with a setlist sure to delight new and old Imogen Heap fans. So, when it comes to inevitably end with ‘Hide & Seek’ (to which Imogen sounds distinctly exhausted, remarking ‘I guess it’s that time again…’) the audience get to join in one last time, and be they fans brought in from this tune, or from those of ten years before, by the end of the concert no-one can tell due to the amazing performance they have just witnessed.

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