The one-woman rollercoaster Paloma Faith is setting out on her summer tour around the UK, but first of all playing catch-up on some earlier postponed covid gigs, including tonight’s in the plush surroundings of Edinburgh’s Usher Hall.  Last time around a dose of laryngitis caused a very last-minute call off when the doors of the hall were nearly open to her fans before illness meant she could not go on stage.  However tonight all is well in the Paloma house again and the fans were treated to a fantastic evening of music and entertainment.

Opening tonight is young British singer Zak Abel who warmed the crowd up nicely for the evening ahead with his own blend of soulful R&B and pop tunes, including tracks from his solo album Only When We’re Naked.  His set was well received by the Edinburgh audience.

41 year old Paloma Faith first burst onto the UK music scene in 2009 with the release of the singles Stone Cold Sober, New York and title track of her debut album Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful, but by this time she had already made a breakthrough as an actress in such movies as St Trinians, Dread and BBC TV’s HolbyBlue, and although she continues her acting career, she is best known these days for her music, having picked up a number of awards including Best Female Solo at the Brits on four occasions.  Currently on the road with her Summer UK tour The Age of Optimism, tonight’s Edinburgh show would be a return to the capital for the star and a chance for her legion of Scottish fans to see her live again.

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As the lights went down, backing singers and the band took their places behind the drape of a yellow curtain, before the unmistakable silhouette of Faith entered the arena.  When the music started and the curtain fell, the roar of approval from the audience was deafening.  The 19 track setlist would see the singer cover all bases, including her bigger hits and a handful of tracks from her most recent release, 2020’s Infinite Things.  

Gold, Last Night on Earth and Monster set the tone for the evening.  A simple stage set with a stepped platform providing an area for the three backing singers dressed in leopard prints, with a drummer, keyboards and guitarist, Paloma dressed rather dishevelled, in a sparkly white dress and chunky soled black shoes, which never once held her back from darting along the stage. Regardless, she still looks phenomenal, and is in terrific voice. 

The hits Picking Up the Pieces, New York and Crybaby gave the audience a chance to join in on backing vocals, singles Just Be, Black & Blue and Can’t Rely on You padded out the setlist and a couple of covers mixed things up slightly including Changing by Sigma and the Erma Franklin classic Piece of My Heart before a storming finale of the 2014 top ten single Only Love Can Hurt Like This closed the show.  The quirky superstar left the stage to a standing ovation and the crowd left feeling more than contented.

It may have been put back for more than a few months but the Paloma Faith show at The Usher Hall was a terrific gig, and one well worth the wait.  The singer is back in top form after last year’s set back, her wee quips and anecdotes bring a smile to the face, her voice is as powerful as its ever been, the music sounds great live and she is just an all-round top entertainer who captivates her audience.  A star of the stage and screen, and definitely one for the bucket list of must-see performers.

Review & Photographs  by Stephen Wilson

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