There is snow falling outside the Brixton Academy when Jessie Ware takes to the stage for this, her biggest show to date. Having been to school merely streets away, tonight’s gig feels very much like a triumphant homecoming for the recently married singer. Her family are here, her friends are here and most importantly, 5000 of her loyal fans are here.
Decked out in a shirt/cape designed exclusively for this tour by Hannah Marshall, Ware cuts a flowing silouhette against her majestic backdrop that utilises the venues grandiose settings. Entering to the intro of ‘Running’ there are deafening cheers that almost bring Ware to tears before she’s sung a single note.
This near tear experience is one that will be repeated many times throughout the night as Ware dedicates songs to her husband, brother and mother. ‘Running’ gets the set off to an energetic start, Ware’s voice backflips around the backbeat showing that even when her voice has been remixed for a single, there is nothing better than the real thing.
Hits from her first album ‘Devotion’ are met with caccophonous applause and cheers and runaway hits such as ‘Wildest Moments’ leave nary a dry eye in the house. This is very much a concert for people in love, all around are couples holding hands, hugging and using Ware’s narrative as an unspoken way to say ‘I love you’.
The mix of ballads and slower love songs have been cleverely interlinked to make tonight’s setlist an overall experience as opposed to a cackhanded smorgasbord of hits. ‘Wildest Moments’ is met with the first major singalong of the night that at times is so loud that it drowns out Ware and her band. It’s moments like this that remind people just why live music is so important to people. Every member of this 5000 strong crowd has taken something different from every line of Ware’s back catalogue, different things that have all come together to show their appreciation for a singer who’s between song chat makes me question why Ware hasn’t been given her own comedy series.
‘You & I Forever’ again sets a lot of tear ducts off, but this time it’s happy tears and smiles all around. Jessie’s two albums seem to balance heartbreak with total elation, a musical soundtrack to the love lives of everyone present. It’s pop music, but it’s some of the most relatable pop music you can get your hands on in 2015.
None of the joyous singalongs could prepare for the breakdown of ‘Say You Love Me’ though. This, Ware’s clear ace up her sheer sleeves. Belting it out from the stage, Ware has tears streaking down her face, seeing her words have such an impact got a little too much. The crowd bolster her by giving it all they’ve got, becoming in a flash, perhaps London’s biggest gospel choir.
There is 4 solid minutes of applause as Ware exits the stage to mark the end of the show (Ware built her encore in to her original set because she was too happy onstage). Everyone may feel slightly more fragile after the set, but this happy fragility causes an explosion of hugs amongst crowd members.
Tonight, Jessie Ware well and truly became the queen of Brixton.