Mark (orko224) wrote,

  • Music:

Imogen Heap at Webstor Hall

Immi's concert at Webstor Hall Sunday night was truly amazing. She is such a gifted performer and exceeded all my expectations. The show worked incredibly well because of the way she mixed her performance styles. Immi played piano solo, did one song a capella, incorporated live loops and samples, and used a full band for several songs. This mix kept the audience guessing. Immi's decision to use a headset mic was also very smart as it allowed her to have her hands free for piano playing, dancing, running around the stage and everything in between. It was great to see her really work the stage this time around.

Immi had excellent stage presence and didn't seem nervous at all. When I saw her at Avalon in NYC in January (almost a year ago) she was pretty flustered. She had just taped her performance for David Letterman and had to deal with all new equipment. She had issues with her vocoder on Hide and Seek and she kept forgetting her microphone at the back piano when she returned to the keboard at the front of the stage. While that show had numerous technical difficulties, this show at Webstor Hall was pretty much error free. At the same time, though, the show is not a detached spectacle a la Madonna or Janet Jackson. This was an intimate performance where every song Immi played I believed she was singing it just for me.

I don't remember the set list exactly but I will try to comment on specifics from each song using the list above. Immi opened the show with "I Am In Love With You" which was a terrific choice. This rendition was pretty faithful to the album version. The real shock value comes from seeing Immi walk on her stage in that gorgeous red dress wearing a key-tar. Very 80's new wave and so weird and cool. Next was her a capella version of Just For Now. This is what I really love about Immi's shows - the way she changes her songs and makes them new again for the audience. The arrangement was similar to the iTunes live version with looped live vocals and clapping. On Let Go, Immi played the piano solo. From that performance along, it's easy to see that she is a piano prodigy. Immi also played her older song Come Here Boy solo on the piano. She told the audience that her first album was finally rereleased and the company did a great job with it, albeit six year too late. LOL.

Immi was very funny throughout the performance, sometimes inadvertanly, as she spoke into the mic between songs. At one point she said she was single and looking for someone to date. Then she corrected herself and said she wasn't interested in dating anyone but she was just looking for sex. She then said that comment is why she shouldn't have gotten one of those microphones. There were a lot of those hilariously dry moments throughout the show including when she told an audience member that you wouldn't think she's so pretty first thing in the morning without all the hair and makeup. I was cracking up the entire time when she was introducing the electronic band, especially how she explained that the choir effect on Hide and Seek creates an army of Mini-Me's. Anyway, back to the show...

Immi used her openers Kid Beyond, who did beat boxes, and Levi Weaver plus a drummer in her band during several songs. Headlock was the best of these with each musician contributing just the right element to the song. Headlock really got the crowd going, as did Goodnight and Go. The full-band version of G&G was really terrific with Immi's terrific piano playing not being overshadowed by the rest of the band. It was perfection. Loose Ends, also full-band, was surprisingly aggressive and powerful. The two most aggressive songs of the night, though, were easily The Walk and Daylight Robbery. The Walk sounded so full and rich with the whole band and really got the crowd going. I was in an especially energetic area and the girls in front of me were going nuts during The Walk. Daylight Robbery was also terrific. I find it amazing that the song can be recreated so faithfully on stage. It's my boyfriend's favorite song so he (and again the girls in front of us) were ecstatic. The only song where the full-band effect didn't work was on Closing In. The drums were way too loud and it overpowered Immi's piano playing. I think that song would have been a perfect choice to do solo.

Other highlights include Immi's terrific rendition of Clear The Area. It was a stripped down version without the background vocal piece. You could hear in the crowd some of the more devout fans singing the harmonies ("Waaaay back doooown," "Please clear the area," etc). Hide and Seek was a surreal moment in time. The entire club was dead silent and you could have heard a pin drop. Truly astonishing. Finally, the last song, The Moment I Said It, was the perfect way to end the show - just Immi and the piano and us.

Overall, I was really impressed with the concert. I also noticed this time around the audience was more engaged. People weren't screaming for Frou Frou songs. They wanted to hear tracks from Speak for Yourself. I also noticed a suprisingly large number of gay people in the audience. I'm gay and I met Immi the day before her Avalon gig in January at a gay bar in Chelsea but I dind't think she had a big gay fan base. At this show, though, there were definitely a lot more lesbian couples in the audience, some were even dressed kind of like her. I may have to write The Advocate and suggest they feature her in their Big Gay Following section.

This concert should definitely be recorded and rereleased as a live CD or DVD. Everything about the show was great and at least a live package would hold us over until the next album.
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