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Gabrielle The Jazz Café, London live review

The Dreams singer previewed songs from her first album in 11 years.

Gabrielle
Credit: BMG

2018 marks the 25th anniversary of Gabrielle’s debut album Find Your Way, which launched her career with the smash hit Dreams. With 5 studio albums under her belt, three of which charted in the Top 10 including her number 1 1999 album Rise, Gabrielle is finally returning to music with the release of her sixth studio album Under My Skin in August. The album will be her first in 11 years and last night she launched it with a sold-out show at London’s The Jazz Café.

While she may not have been releasing new music the past 11 years, Gabrielle has been touring on and off but last night’s show felt like the first step of a very welcome return to the music industry for the singer-songwriter. Essentially the show was an opportunity for fans to hear selections from Under My Skin for the first time along with a selection of Gabrielle’s biggest hits. The set opened with 4 new tracks – Stronger, Put Up a Fight, Under My Skin and new single Show Me – and the theme of Gabrielle’s new album was very clear; this is a collection of empowering and inspiring songs that marks a real return to form.

The new material was very well received by the audience and Gabrielle was positively glowing as she sung it. She was very chatty and often self-deprecating between songs, breaking out into that infectious laugh of hers frequently. During the set Gabrielle took time to thank her band, her collaborators on Under My Skin and the fans who have been by her side for 25 years. The first of her hits that cropped up in the set list was the Motown-esque When a Woman, which got the audience dancing and singing along.

All the hits fans wanted to hear were present. Give Me a Little More Time sounded stunning live, Sunshine (very appropriate given the weather we’re having) was uplifting and catchy and a medley of Going Nowhere/I Wish/Because of You was one of the highlights of the evening. Gabrielle worked some more new songs into the mix – Every Step, Breathe, Shine and Thank You – and they fit right in alongside the classics.

Saving the best for last, Gabrielle performed Rise, Out of Reach and Dreams as her final three songs. They were the hits the audience had been waiting for all night and Gabrielle didn’t disappoint. Her voice sounded strong and soulful, and the audience didn’t wait to be asked to join in. For Dreams Gabrielle brought her manager on stage to thank her for everything she’s done for her, and she broke the song down into an acoustic interlude. It was a rousing finish to a superb evening.

As I left The Jazz Café last night, I had a big smile plastered across my face. I’d waited 25 years to see Gabrielle live and she certainly didn’t disappoint. Her new album Under My Skin is sounding magnificent, judging from the 8 songs that were previewed last night. The new material is a nod to classic Gabrielle but it sounds distinctly modern too. One thing’s for certain, it’s definitely heartfelt and it’s the kind of positivity we need in the world right now. Gabrielle’s performance was superb and she’s lost none of that magic that made me fall in love with her music back in 1993.

 

Set list: 1. Stronger 2. Put Up a Fight 3. Under My Skin 4. Show Me 5. When a Woman 6. Give Me a Little More Time 7. Sunshine 8. Every Step 9. Breathe 10. Shine 11. Thank You 12. Going Nowhere/I Wish/Because Of You 13. Rise 14. Out of Reach 15. Dreams Performance date: 8th May 2018

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