It’s arguably the best pop album of the year so far, and it certainly gets a glorious and uplifting outing at Heaven in London this evening. This is easily the moment Rae Morris properly graduates from piano balladeer to proper popstar, delivering a show that bursts with heart, energy, and raw emotion.
Kicking off with Push Me To My Limit, one of the first things that strikes us is just how confident and in control of her voice Rae Morris is. As she twists and turns through octaves, her nearest comparison feels like Bjork – there are only so many people who can manage these vocal acrobatics, and everything from Morris’s range to her diction recalls the Icelandic queen. It pops up again on Dancing With Character (more on that later), but it’s certainly no small comparison to make. Yep, Rae Morris really is that good in a live environment.
More to the point, even between all the dancing and lung-busting vocals, Morris rarely misses a note. It’s incredible to watch, bouncing as she does between singles Do It and Atletico to the softer aspects of her album. Wait For The Rain proves a highlight, but it’s Dancing With Character that properly pops out as the song that should perhaps be the next single. It’s brought to life by Morris’s own characterful dancing, self-effacing and lost in the moment as she spins the most beautiful tale that remains as heart-rending on stage as it does on record.
The true popstar moment? A good old medley, of course. Morris segues from Dip My Toe to her classic Under The Shadows and back to Rose Garden (special shout-out to her backing vocalist for both voice and dance moves here). They may not be the songs she’ll be remembered for, but tonight they’ll be remembered for being a breathtaking moment of breathless performing. The sort that both rouses and stuns an audience, and the sort only a proper star can pull off.
And through it all is the lady herself, full of charm and earning every bit of the crowd’s appreciation over an evening (and a career) that feels relatively short but incredibly special. And with one last lump-in-throat double whammy of Don’t Go and Someone Out There Rae Morris is gone, all smiles and emotion after making her audience feel the very same. With any luck it’ll be bigger venues after this, because tonight Heaven certainly felt small for a pop voice that belongs in the skies.