Gig review: Emeli Sande, Usher Hall

FORMER Oasis man Noel Gallagher recently accused Emeli Sandé of making “music for grannies” – but the blue-rinse brigade was conspicuous by its absence at the Usher Hall, where an all-ages crowd gathered to watch British pop’s golden girl perform.

Emeli Sandé

Usher Hall * * * *

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Far and away Scotland’s biggest success story in yonks, to say the Aberdeen lass has enjoyed a remarkable time of it lately would be a gross understatement.

Just over 18 months ago, the then unknown singer was performing to a handful of punters at The Caves. And look at her now.

The Scottish-Zambian had the biggest-selling album of 2012, has bagged countless awards and, most famously, became the voice of the London 2012 Olympics, appearing at both the opening and closing ceremonies.

Not bad going for one who describes herself as “a very unlikely pop star”.

Taking to the stage to a roar of approval befitting a rock star, the 26-year-old, conservatively dressed in a blouse and knee-length pencil skirt, launched into a pitch-perfect rendition of her first solo hit, Heaven.
Clearly touched by the warm welcome she received, at the end of the opener Sandé took a moment to thank her fans for their part in her success.

“Thanks so much for the last two years,” she said humbly. “It’s been beyond my wildest dreams.”

What followed was a barrage of hits from chart-topping debut album Our Version Of Events and a sprinkling of new songs.

In between, Sandé offered some insight into the background of the songs – but mostly let the music do the talking.

And while the highlights were predictable – Read All About It, My Kind Of Love and Clown – newbies like The Half Of It, written about the 2011 riots, and This Much Is True, penned for her new hubby, suggest that Sandé’s sophomore album will be as hit-packed as its predecessor.

The singer ended the main set with Wonder before returning for an encore of Mountains and, by the time she wrapped things up in style with Next To Me, the crowd were in raptures.

In a nutshell, this was a top-notch performance from a young lady who is blessed with one of the most powerful and emotion-stirring voices in music today.