Words: Taylor Connelly / Pictures: Kitty Handley
Tom Odell’s performance at the O2 Apollo in Manchester on February 21st, proved that all he will ever need to showcase his sheer brilliance is a piano and himself.
The O2 Apollo in Manchester, mostly used as a theater, has high ceilings, tasteful decor and gentle golden lighting, which provided Tom Odell with the perfect setting. As the lightning dimmed and the piano was made the center focus of the stage, there was a brief moment of overwhelming anticipation before the English singer-songwriter sang the first note of his single Numb. The venue went from a people filled theater room to a complete immersive experience.
The setlist from start to finish was a phenomenal showcase of Tom Odell’s musical journey through the years of his career, playing songs from his very first album Long Way Down to his most recent work Monsters. It felt as though there was no coherent, calculated order to the setlist as there was a constant mix of slow-paced, lullaby-like tracks and more upbeat, fast paced, anthemic songs.
Tom Odell is known for layered, heart-rending songs and some of his tracks such as Heal and Somehow were performed as such, solo with a piano and minimal lighting. Yet for the better part of the performance, songs like Money and Can’t Pretend were carried out with a full band and extravagant visual production which was contrasting but provided a pleasant, lively surprise.
The audience was gifted with a live performance from both Tom Odell and his support act, Rae Morris, of their song Half As Good As You, which marked a first in his tour. The pairing of their melodically beautiful voices provided one of the most harmonious performances of the night.
The Chichester-born singer performed one of his unreleased tracks, Best Day of My Life and due to no one knowing the lyrics, it was one of the only moments of absolute silence the entire night. But, it was one of the most captivating performances I have ever witnessed. The small snippets of his upcoming tracks were more than enough to entice excitement for what’s next in his discography.
Another Love, his most popular track, is proof a song does not need to be upbeat and loud to have a crowd actively respond with every lyric. The night ended on a far more gentle note than it started with Don’t be afraid of the dark which was a perfectly elegant ending to the night.
Through his music and especially in performance, Tom Odell has this ability to completely eradicate your surroundings so that the only focus is on his voice and music streaming from his piano and his performance on the 21st of February 2022 was no exception.
Gallery (photo’s – Kitty Handley)