The primary feeling elicited from this live recording by Katie Melua is one of absolute sincerity, thanks to the autobiographical nature of the programme. Recorded in December 2018 at the Westminster Central Hall, Katie Melua: Live in Concert opens with a traditional Georgian folk song (her country of origin), Tu Ase Turpa Ikavi, before following with Plane Song in which the singer describes her arrival in Northern Ireland (her adoptive country) in 1993.
In the space of a few minutes, Katie Melua manages to take us through her journey charged with raw emotion. Accompanied by only a guitar, a piano and a discreet rhythm section, the singer has the power to showcase her velvety voice as well as the quality of her songwriting which blend pop and folk music.
Of course, she performs hits like Nine Million Bicycles and The Closest Thing to Crazy, but there are a couple of surprises, like the cover of The Cure’s Just Like Heaven and What A Wonderful World. By slowing down the tempo of Louis Armstrong’s classic and joining forces with the Gori Women’s Choir (who feature on several other songs from the album), Katie Melua imbues a relaxed ambience in the London concert hall.
If we’re still talking about covers, we should mention the vibrant All-Night Vigil - Nunc Dimittis (a Russian religious song composed by Sergei Rachmaninoff in 1915) and Fields of Gold by Sting.
It appears that Katie Melua enjoys plunging herself into as wide an array of genres as possible, but thanks to her melancholic voice and radiant sensitivity, she nevertheless manages to instil a sense of unity to this magical concert.