It’s been more than ten years since the release of Corinne Bailey Rae’s debut single ‘Like A Star’ and massive hit ‘Put Your Records On’, both found on her self-titled debut album from 2006. Her charming singer-songwriter soul came after Amy Winehouse’s debut but perhaps paved the way for Adele, and she has often been compared to R&B icon Sade.
Despite having released further two albums – 2010’s The Sea and The Heart Speaks In Whispers last year – Bailey Rae had never visited Australia before this year’s Bluesfest. And it was a radiant Bailey Rae who took the stage at the Metro Theatre on Easter Sunday.
She opened with ‘Been To The Moon’ from the latest record before venturing into ‘Closer’ from her second album and the oldie ‘Breathless’. “It’s still a trip to me when I go somewhere I’ve never been before and people know my songs,” she smiled, and then started another song from the debut record, ‘Till It Happens To You’.
The setlist balanced new and old material nicely, and she also treated the audience to her cover of the epic Bob Marley tune ‘Is This Love’. There were a couple of ambling moments during particularly long renditions of ‘Horse Print Dress’ and ‘Do You Ever Think Of Me?’, but there was no doubt that the crowd was with the charismatic soul diva all the way.
In addition to the obvious crowd-pleasers, an almost surprising highlight was ‘Stop Where You Are’. This relatively new track saw Bailey Rae’s delicate vocals and acoustic guitar stand almost completely alone during the verse before it exploded into a magnificently gripping pop chorus.
Another pleasant surprise was ‘The Skies Will Break’, on which the annoyingly polished dance beat of the recorded version was not as protruding live, and the performance came off way more authentic.
Bailey Rae bid the crowd farewell with the enchanting soul lullaby ‘Like A Star’, which ended with her bursting into yet another contagious smile and triumphantly raising the acoustic guitar over her head. “I don’t know where and when,” she said, “but I hope we’ll get to see all of you again.”
Corinne Bailey Rae was reviewed at the Metro Theatre on Sunday April 16.