Katie Melua offers rich performance to end UK tour

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A HEART warming, rich performance was enjoyed by Katie Melua fans at The Sage Gateshead last night, at her final UK gig before she jets off to Europe.

The Sage was the perfect arena for her often mellow music which drew the audience into an intimate performance of her rich and powerful vocals that seemed to tug at the soul.

She stepped onto the stage with just her guitar for company and started with the title track of her second album Piece by Piece before being joined by a string quartet for If You Were a Sailboat. The arrangement of the strings accentuated her pure vocals and gave us a taste of what was to come throughout the evening.

Her recent marriage to James Toseland was evident with the sparkly ring on her finger and was cheered when Katie mentioned it before introducing her next song, I’d Love To Kill You, needless to say which was written before she met her husband.

Closest Thing To Crazy rounded off the smaller set before Katie and the string quartet were joined by a band of a piano, lead guitar, bass and percussion.

A touch of the theatrical entertained with the next few songs, The Flood, A Moment of Madness and a cover of Rod Stewart’s Gasoline Alley, the jazzy Shy Boy, the rocky If the Lights Go Out before we were introduced to the songs from her new album.

The Walls of the World was a sung with Melua’s haunting vocals soaring around the sound of the string quartet which pulled at the heart followed by the title track of the album Secret Symphony, The Bit that I Don’t Get and I’m Forgetting All My Troubles. This is the only track written by Melua herself on the album and the fresh, light and airy sound reflect her overall happiness of where she is in her life at the moment.

A totally new song which hasn’t yet been released, The Night I Dreamed I Was Awake was a treat for the audience before the hit Call off the Search which she dedicated to her husband who was at the gig.

Next was the toe-tapping Moonshine with the lead guitar strongly reflecting Clapton’s influence before Two Bare Feet made you feel like you were dancing down a New Orleans street finished off the set.

The encore brought the gig back to it’s original intimate setting with Melua and her guitar, singing her well known hit Nine Million Bicycles, one from her current album, Better than A Dream and finally I Cried For You.

Katie Melua was generous in her acknowledgement of the audience which were very appreciative, and we were left with her haunting melodies, a rich clarity of voice ringing in our ears and a warmth inside to accompany us into the cold Tyneside night.

GEMMA MARRINER