Jessie J @ o2 Academy, 20 November 2018

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The word ‘authenticity’ gets thrown around often. We use it to designate a certain quality of humanity, a certain humbleness and sincerity found intermittently with artists. The word gets used often but perhaps not accurately, that is until we caught a set by Jessie J. Bringing a true meaning to the word, Jessie J completely transformed a mundane Tuesday evening with a truly authentic set. Amidst massive technical issues that plagued the entirety of the evenings Jessie J’s raw authenticity shown through, her love of music and her adoration of fans trumping any issues created by a technical disaster. Jessie J, the enlightened entertainer, created a vortex of perfection at the O2 Academy that left a lasting impression. 

With her newly released R.O.S.E album Jessie J once again takes the stage, curating a set that highlights her emotional and personal growth. Split into sections headlined by certain emotions like that of Realisations, Obsessions, Sex and Empowerment Jessie J created a thoughtful, reflective and powerful set. 

The night opened with a set entitled Realisations. As Jessie J’s voice floated admits a dark room her personal realisations filtered through, realisations of growth and change.  The sobering opening blasted away as red lights lit up the room, Jessie J in a darkened glittery outfit and infamous cat suit rising to the stage. Sentimental ‘Oh Lord’ came first its deep sound reverberating around the room. While it may seem like an odd choice for an opener as it is not the electrical banger many use, the song placed a reflective tone on the room, a tone that would continue to permeate the set. 

Keys based ‘Think About That’ continued the stripped instrumental sound, the song an amalgamation of pop, jazz and R+B displaying the diversity of sound found in Jessie J’s records. Anthemic pop rock ‘Do It Like a Dude’ picked the energy up, its electric cascading guitar riffs paralleled by Jessie J’s insane vocals bringing a new brightness to the room. Clearly a fan favourite, the record found everyone singing along with glee. The singing fans continued as ‘Dopamine’ streamed through quickly followed by ‘Nobody’s Perfect.’ On full display were Jessie J’s insane vocals, something that is truly indescribable by words her voice is at both times powerful and clear, smooth and sharp, the voice of an angel but also the voice that could strike fear in any man. The set focused on Realisations ended with emotive pop rock ‘Easy On Me.’

Jessie J disappeared into the black and a new voiceover came through, this one discussing Obsessions. As the lights turned to purple ‘Real Deal’ seeped through the speakers. Jessie J, clad in a glitter white power suit, infused the room with energy. ‘Not My Ex’ quickly followed, the groovy ballad finding Jessie J throwing her hat off into the crowd. Technical issues plagued the set so fans were treated to a handful of acoustic songs including ‘Flashlight’ and ‘Who You Are.’

Obsession turned to Sex. Dressed in a Victorian influenced red dress, that would later be referred to as a loofah, Jessie J broke into pop positivity ‘Queen.’ An anthem celebrating womanhood Jessie J was joined by fans singing, “I love my body/I love my skin/ I am a goddess/ I am a queen.” The powerful record bringing chills into the room for its poignant and purposeful message.

Massive pop record ‘Play,’ with its exploding instrumentals and expansive vocals got everyone dancing around standing still only to appreciate the insane guitar riffs breaking through the song. Sex ended with quick paced rock infused pop banger ‘Masterpiece.’ 

Dressed in an amazing gold jumpsuit Jessie J started the Empowerment section. Anchored with a sort of gospel choir intensity ‘Glory’ opened the section. Immediately loved by fans who raised their hands in excitement the playful song had Jessie J doing some impressive vocal tricks, displaying her awe inspiring range. ‘Bang Bang’ and ‘Price tag’ brought pop sunshine to the stage, bouncing around with the uptempo vibes, before ‘Domino’ in its cacophony of sound ended the evening. 

To say Jessie J puts on a good show would be an understatement, her shows are meticulously curated with such thought and intention it can only be described as art. This alone would be impressive, but amidst technical issues that plagued the night Jessie J continuously interacted with fans to make sure the night was magical for those in attendance. It would be easy for any artist to throw their hands up in frustration and merely go through the motions, but Jessie J did the opposite, doing everything in her power to perform. And perform she did, a standout night that displayed not only her insane vocal talent but also her deep connection to her fans. At the O2 Academy Jessie J gave a powerful and personal performance, curating a show that was awe inspiring. 

Reviewer: Kylie McCormick

Photographer: Sophie Jones

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