Live Review: Jessie Ware – The Piece Hall, Halifax. 19.06.22

“Is this Halifax or Venice?”

Such is the spectacular setting for this gig, it’s caused Jessie Ware to question where she is. And she’s not wrong, the Piece Hall in Halifax is a stunning location for this outdoor summer party.

Ware is touring in support of the 2020 What’s Your Pleasure album, disco inspired and widely considered to be her best outing yet. Critically acclaimed, it’s also her highest charting release so far, representing a lighter, fun side to her personality.

The record’s opening track – Spotlight –  kicks off proceedings, with four backing singers/dancers taking the stage one by one, before Ware emerges, popping against a mainly black set in a magenta, faux fur lined poncho. It’s a high energy start, driving bassline and cool vocals, along with stylised choreography centre stage.

The first 3 songs follow this formula, before Ware sheds the poncho (not a bad idea on such a warm evening) to move out from behind the mic stand to get involved with the crowd. The dancers have their time to shine, with great solo performances bringing the numbers to even greater life.

It’s a performance in 4 ‘acts’, the second of which opens with 2013s Wildest Moments, followed by an invitation to start dancing to  Mirage and reaching a crescendo with Soul Control, complete with gold lame clad dancers and a massive disco ball in full swing.

Say You Love Me introduces the next segment, one for the longer standing fans, and there’s a real highlight in the shape of Midnight, a beautiful track with a soulful sensibility and soaring vocal. Behind that airy disco sound is Ware’s trademark powerhouse pop R&B sound, that would have taken the roof off, were there one in place to begin with.

It’s a consummate performance, creating a chilled yet simultaneously party like atmosphere down at the barrier. It’s positive, and inclusive, featuring Lizzie, a BSL interpreter for those harder of hearing to be able to join in the celebration.

There is such a fun side to Jessie Ware on this tour, reflecting the lightness of mood on the 2020 record. Full of references to classic disco – see Diana Ross or Donna Summer – and even to early 2000s Kylie Minogue (with Who she released Kiss of Life in 2021, and was another highlight of the show), this was a party in the sunshine, perfect to kick off the summer series of gigs at the Piece Hall.

All set now for her headline set at Glastonbury, this was a perfect summer evening warm up, with the heart of Halifax on fire to the sound of Jessie Ware.

Set list
Ooh La La
Read My Lips
Step Into My Life
Wildest Moments
Soul Control
Say You Love Me
Champagne Kisses
Kiss of Life
Hot n Heavy
What’s Your Pleasure?
Save a Kiss

Previous Live Review: Blood Red Shoes - The Garage, London 14.06.2022
Next Live review: The Dead South - HMV Empire, Coventry 22.06.22

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