Natalie Imbruglia

Natalie Imbruglia @ O2 Institute Birmingham, 17th October 2022

Australian sensation Natalie Imbruglia took to the stage in Birmingham for the penultimate show of her UK tour.

This run of shows celebrated the 25th anniversary of Natalie’s debut album Left of the Middle, and it’s fair to say that the setlist was made up largely of tracks from that album – 10 out of the 12 album tracks in fact. That’s not a criticism though, there are some great tunes on that album, and I don’t just mean UK top-10 hit ‘Torn’. Songs like ‘One More Addiction’, ‘Pigeons and Crumbs’ and ‘Impressed’ all caught the crowd’s attention, as did ‘Big Mistake’ which is an aggressive break up song that has become an ear worm for me since the show, and, in my opinion, is Imbruglia’s best song.

Songs from other albums that made it onto the setlist included show opener ‘What it Feels Like’ and ‘Firebird’ from Natalie’s 2021 album Firebird, and ‘Shiver’ from 2005 album Counting Down the Days.

The band backing Imbruglia were fantastic, in particular the bassist who also provided excellent backing vocals. The four-piece also consisted of a keys player, guitarist and drummer. Natalie’s vocals were brilliant all night but, particularly on ‘Smoke’, a slow song where she had a chance to show them off.

The audience was made up of a contrast between die-hard fans who knew every song, and those who had only heard ‘Torn’ and, maybe, 2005’s ‘Shiver’. Some of us of course first saw Natalie Imbruglia playing Beth Brennan in Neighbours in the early 90s, and may have gone along for a bit of nostalgia. Natalie was back on our Channel 5 screens for a cameo alongside Holly Vallance just prior to Neighbours’ sad demise this year.

To put things into perspective, Natalie Imbruglia has had 10 top 40 hits in the UK, including five which charted in the top 10 so she’s much more than a one-hit wonder or a bit of reminiscence. She has a diverse range of songs, ranging from classic pop and pop-rock to jazz and ballads. ‘Leave Me Alone’ has a great lounge feel with a vibraphone intro and could be compared with Portishead. ‘Impressed’ is a great electro-pop song and made me think of Eurythmics.

Natalie mentioned feeling old on at least three occasions during her set, but she looked great in a tiered lace dress and calf-length, lace-up boots with wavy hair. She also danced her way through the show without looking like she’d broken a sweat (I’m not remotely jealous).

The main set, as you’d expect, finished with ‘Torn’ and everyone was either singing along or filming it on their phone. After a short break, Natalie Inbruglia closed with a three-song encore that included ‘Build it Better’ from her latest album Firebird, as well as ‘Left of the Middle’ a sombre track co-written with Steve Booker, and the title track of her debut album.

Setlist:

What It Feels Like
Wrong Impression
Wishing I Was There
Nothing Missing
Shiver
City
Smoke
Pigeons and Crumbs
Firebird
One More Addiction
Leave Me Alone
Impressed
Just Like Old Times
Big Mistake
Torn
……………………………….
Something Better
Left of the Middle
Build It Better

 

Review: Chrissie Duxson

Photographs: Ian Dunn

 

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