Sam Smith sparks emotion @ The Riverstage, Saturday 25th April
There’s something kind of brilliant about going to a show at Riverstage, whether it be the starry night sky above you, the diverse groups of teeny boppers and families or even the underground music they play in between acts. Sam Smith is set to take the to the stage at his first solo performance in Australia (his first visit being Splendour in the Grass in 2014) since the release of his critically acclaimed, award winning album In The Lonely Hour. He has chosen an incredible opening act, the beautiful and tender Emma Louise, whose entire set is new songs from her upcoming album, but sneaking Jungle into the middle of the set is an instant crowd pleaser. Even though Emma Louise has an awkward stage presence, it doesn’t take you out of the beautiful atmosphere she creates with her music, particularly her voice.
After ten minute of fans yelling ‘Sam Smith’, the lights go down and the stage lights up to reveal 5 pillars, where the backup singers, keyboardist, drummer, guitarist and violinist stand on each, out from the middle steps Sam Smith. Smith plays through Life Support and I’m Not The Only One which have the young fans screaming every word. It’s clear right from the beginning that this is not going to be an uplifting performance, given the content of the songs. In a truly memorable and personal monologue, Sam Smith states that he had been hurt in the past, that love is hard, and the songs he was writing weren’t getting him anywhere because of how they sounded – he felt they were too constructed for the masses. He tells us he’s an honest artist and who isn’t in it for the fame but, rather, to share his experiences. The crowd cheers and the mothers around me tear up before Smith continues into what he states are the most personal songs for him – Good Thing and I’ve Told You Now.
I’ll admit I had tears in my eyes – there is something about Sam Smith‘s lyrics and the way they mix with his tender voice that result in resounding sorrow. After rolling on through Lay Me Down, Money On My Mind, and his own rendition of La La La he steps off stage but is greeted back to screams and chants from the crowd, performing his acoustic version of Latch and not surprisingly, Stay With Me.
Sam Smith is one of those rare artists who are believable and genuine; a truly humble and caring soul.