In a sold out venue, packed to the rafters, Sara Bareilles strolls onto the stage, clapping as she strides. Heading straight for the piano, she greets the crowd amiably before introducing her first song, Uncharted. As she stands, yes stands, at the piano, the audience immediately realise the wealth of talent that hides behind the Love Song artist. And it’s as she begins to sing “Head under water…” that the crowd really begin to give her attention as her biggest hit bounces around the grand venue. She stands back and allows us to take the lead on the chorus, smiling and jokingly asking us if we’ve been rehearsing.
As an audience we clap along to the beat of my personal favourite, King of Anything, and I dance – perhaps with too much enthusiasm for a seated fan – to Let The Rain. It’s with the album track Hold My Heart that Bareilles’ heartbreaking vocals really shine through and I hear the people behind me comment on the emotions that are evoked with Bareilles’ clever combination of powerful lyrics and incredible vocals.
After a 45 minute set, the crowd are in awe. A Cee-Lo Green and Gonna Get Over You mash-up has gotten everyone’s feet itching to dance whilst her haunting solo piano cover of Coldplay’s Yellow is a poignant ending that demonstrates her formidable vocal range. But wait, this isn’t the end of the concert. Oh no, because after a 30 minute break Maroon 5 take to the stage.
Front man Adam Levine oozes stage presence. He doesn’t walk around the stage; he jumps. And boy can he jump. And as for his singing? Despite the amplification of the guitars, keyboard, bass and drums, Levine’s voice remains strong and pitch perfect throughout. Whilst many would quiver and fall foul of the instruments to be overshadowed, he stands, well I mean he jumps, victorious.
From the first note of Misery to the final burst of Sunday Morning ninety minutes later, Levine and his four bandmates owned the stage. The audience sing-along enthusiastically and fight over his faded denim shirt as it gets thrown to the masses. Harder to Breathe and This Love, really set the crowd off, with the latter getting the more reluctant upper-tier dancing in front of their seats.
Amongst a mixture of their latest albums and previous successes, a new track Never Gonna Leave This Bed is offered to a very appreciative audience. A cover of Alicia Key’s If I Ain’t Got You leaves them similarly entranced as Levine’s passion for music in its purest form is evident. As he speaks about his dream of introducing Elton John to accompany him on stage you just know that he lives and breathes music.
Both acts are deserving of their own headline tours. Whilst she’s clearly friends with the band and enjoys touring with them , I can’t help but feel that Sara would thrive in front of UK audiences with a lesser-known act supporting her. The crowd who were solely here for Maroon 5 leave with broadened horizons and I won’t be surprised if many will be purchasing Kaleidoscope Heart as they return home. A night of incredible vocal and instrumental performances certainly left me wanting more.