Natalie Imbruglia @ o2 Institute, 13th May, 2017

Birmingham’s O2 Institute is no stranger to intimate gigs. It’s not vast enough to host the “Secret Policeman’s Ball” or “The Proms” but It’s never a “Big Mistake” when acts like Natalie Imbruglia are called upon. The 2017 Acoustic Tour is in town visiting an impressive 17 countries. Taking her well received “Male” covers to a platform, as the Aussie Star, like the beautiful Australian Lyrebird has nailed her covering part of the act again.

“Was it some holy light?”, no, it was two frilly lampshades. It looked like a grandmother’s living room, as the lights turned on so did the three piece band for a short interlude to welcome the unblemished 42 year old to the stage.

“Wrong Impression” was an invigorating start to the show, with its bluesy guitar twang and alt pop carefree charm, it really promoted Natalie’s voice. The harmonization with guitarist Mark Fergusson on “Stuck On The Moon” was at a high quality and Kenny Dickinson on the Tenor Melodica during the song was a musical treat. The Kate Bush Piano style Arpeggios complemented “Satisfied” from Imbruglia’s “Counting down the days” Album very generously.

A fan with an Adam Ant T Shirt on shouted “Is it hot in here or is it just her?” This in one way or another prompted Kenny Dickinson to jump off the piano and slide onto the Cajon Beat Box, really putting the fire back into the set with “Glorious.” We floated through “On The Run” onto “That Day” as Natalie put it “A String Of Consciousness”, which with the retirement home staging really made you believe you were at a poetry recital with Ezra Pound. The song also broke the acoustic rule with an electric guitar. “Lukas” written by ColdPlay really got people’s attention and uplifted people’s spirits with the Chris Martin Viva La Vida inspired vocals. (This cover definitely sounds better sung by a woman.)

Natalie hasn’t shied away from the mainstream success of “Torn” as the construction of the song showed tonight with halfway through the infamous slide electric guitar solo, despite the show being labelled as acoustic. The vocals were good but I’m not sure if I still prefer the “Ednaswap” original. The other covers in the set tonight were the “Death cab For Cutie “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” and “Instant Crush” which has been transferred into “A Great Big World” Pop Rock ballad.

Natalie’s performance of “Shiver” was stripped back with just an acoustic guitar strumming along, when she went off stage Natalie returned to the sound of maracas. “Butterflies” was, in my opinion the only song that went well with the lamp shades. After “Intuition” Peter Vanaldi had the guitar horizontally on his lap for “Big Mistake.” A very emotive performance that ended the night with a punch. Overall the new material is covers, but it was still nice to go back to the 1990s/2000s when so many timeless classics were made.

Set List

Wrong Impression

Stuck On The Moon

I Will Follow You Into the Dark

Satisfied

Counting Down The Days

Glorious

On The Run

That Day

Beauty On The Fire

Torn

Smoke

Lukas

Shiver

Instant Crush

ENCORE

Butterflies

Intuition

Big Mistake

 

Reviewer: John Kirby

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