Just over six years since she last played a gig in Scotland, Corinne Bailey Rae takes to the stage at Oran Mor. Presumably, someone forgot to send her a ‘Haste ye back!’ memo? Damn.
She opens her set with Been to the Moon from The Heart Speaks in Whispers, her recently released third album, following it with Closer. Unhindered by the presence of a guitar for both of these songs, her slender arms flow through the air expressively. Rae then takes up her acoustic guitar for Breathless and Till It Happens To You, ably backed by her four-piece band. The latter of these builds impressively to its musical climax.
Towards the end of Green Aphrodisiac (her recent single) Rae informs the audience that their help is required and the packed crowd duly obliges with backing vocals and suitably timed (mostly) finger snapping accompaniment. A smooth and soulful cover of Bob Marley’s Is This Love (which won her a Grammy in 2012) follows. Energy levels are then kicked up several notches by a very tight version of Paris Nights / New York Mornings.
During Put Your Records On, Rae initially stands at the front of the stage leading the audience singalong, before descending into the pit, to get close and personal. The crowd enjoy the moment far more than the suddenly apprehensive security staff.
She returns to the stage for band introductions and to thank the crowd for all their love and support. It’s a sure sign that the final song has arrived and a lively version of The Skies Will Break duly follows, with Rae enthusiastically jumping up and down near its end.
Inevitably (and deservedly) Rae returns for an encore. She says, ‘It’s always such a pleasure to play in Scotland.’ The audience response indicates that the pleasure has been entirely mutual. Rae delivers a haunting version of Like A Star (her debut single). The song is gentle and melodic, with Rae’s acoustic guitar and voice as the dominant elements.
Rae is a class act with a velvet smooth voice. How to sum up tonight? Perhaps one of this evening’s songs says it best, namely, I’d Do It All Again. Lest anyone forget (this time), ‘Haste ye back, Corinne!’