Concert Review: Lianne La Havas wows Toronto crowd

Share this article

    Lianne La Havas at The Opera House, Toronto, Ontario
    Thursday April 4th, 2003
    By Ann Marie Collymore

    Lianne La Havas at The Opera House, Toronto, Ontario
    Thursday April 4th, 2003
    By Ann Marie Collymore

    A live concert experience is used as a measurement stick of some sort for a music fan. If you’re not able to deliver vocally with all of the magical riffs and notes you dare to accomplish on your album, then it’s pretty much safe to say that you’re heading into murky and catastrophic territories. Not everyone needs exploding pyrotechnics and acrobats. It’s not always about the glitz and glamour of it all. There are those who are truly touched and blessed with a gift that captures the essence of their artistry. And sometimes, that’s all fans want to see, a chance to see everything the artist has to share in all its glory - minus all of the death defying gimmicks. This is exactly what Lianne La Havas had in store for everyone at The Opera House tonight.

    As Lianne walked onto the stage solo, the crowd erupted into a fevered pitch and watched as she was handed her instrument and opened with a faint strum of her guitar that led into the quietness and guilty sensibilities of “No Room For Doubt.”  And with another guitar change, her 4 band members trickled onto stage to join Lianne in “Au Cinéma.” The simplicity of it all was quite amazing to watch. She has a naturalness about her that reverberated throughout the venue. There really wasn’t anything to the show thus far but Lianne’s vocals. Clear, concise, emotional, and rewarding. Belting out a beautiful rendition of “Everything Everything” turned everyone into silly putty and at that point, even though it was already present, Lianne had everyone eating from the palm of her hand.

    After a succession of guitar changes, Lianne was asked about her instruments of choice. Both guitars, one named Connie after her Grandmother, and the other named Lil’ Prince “satisfy different functions,” she said with a giggle. It truly didn’t matter which one she was rocking at the moment, she handled both with ease. With foot-stomping and hand-clapping assistance by the audience, Lianne brought “Is Your Love Big Enough” to a whole other level of boisterous yodeling and merriment.

    La Havas then took the mood down a notch with “Tease Me” and “Gone,” which ended with an earth shattering applause from the audience. The latter was performed with such angst and affliction, there was no way you couldn’t allow it to seep into your soul and feel her pain. But a lively conversation or witty banter could definitely help you out of a tough spot. And that’s all that was needed. There was plenty of crowd interaction, with Lianne’s personality shining through as she replied to audience members hurling amorous declarations and questions that she graciously answered. There was never a dull moment. Including the reading from a poem that a fan presented and she was quite grateful for. “Forget” displayed Lianne’s powerful and skilled vocal range, while “Don’t Wake Me Up” had harmonies that would make a well-seasoned quartet jealous.  Of course, at the end Lianne parted with an astounding encore of “They Could Be Wrong,” “Elusive,” and “Age.”

    Lianne La Havas is complex simplicity at its best. She’s an artist who can be summed up by many opposites: Simple, yet complex – fierce, yet tame – aggressive, yet friendly. Balance is key, but all of these characteristics were ever present in Lianne La Havas’ performance. The only word that can be used to sum it all up is stellar. Yes, Ms. La Havas is absolutely stellar. 

     
    Featured Album - ASCENDANT - Illuminate: Yellow
    Choice Cut - Fred Reed - "Tug Of War"