[Live Review] Amy Macdonald – TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht

amymacdonald

Amy Macdonald has just returned with a new album, and a new album begs to be played live. We went to Utrecht’s TivoliVredenburg to check it out.

Apologies go out to Newton Faulkner, whom I’ve completely missed playing. I caught a glimpse of the performance and decided against pressing further into the packed hall when I saw a guy with an acoustic guitar on stage playing a song I didn’t like and looking like some sort of ginger mop.

The last time I saw Amy Macdonald on stage was back in 2007. She’s just landed a massive number one hit in the Netherlands with This is the Life and she played a moderately crowded Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam. I can’t quite recall all the details of the evening, but I remember that the stage was far too big for this young Scottish girl and her backing band, and she looked positively out of place and downright uncomfortable on it. Ten years later, the discomfort hasn’t completely dissipated, but Macdonald, all grown up now, wears it better.

Starting out with Under Stars, the title track of her new album, it’s clear from the off that Amy’s learnt a thing or two in ten years. The playing is infinitely tighter than it was in the past, and she has evidently grown as a vocalist too. Amy’s is a voice to be reckoned with, and I keep being impressed by the power of it. And where she would outright scream higher notes back in 2007, this time she sings them, and sings them well. Where she shines most is the more intoned material like the stunning rendition of Youth of Today (“This is a protest song against old people, but I’ve morphed into one of the myself,” Macdonald jokes) or the acoustic version of 4th of July.

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The focus is firmly on Under Stars, with seven out of the eleven tracks passing the revue tonight, but there is of course more than enough room for some lesser played tracks (especially Youth of Today and Love Love stand out tonight, as well as a fun cover version of The Doobie BrothersListen to the Music), but the amount of hits played tonight is huge. This is the Life, Mr Rock & Roll, Poison Prince, Spark, Life in a Beautiful Light, the list goes on, and they’re all performed with gusto. Macdonald belts and wails impressively, and her backing band is tight as hell. Most importantly perhaps, these people are having fun playing on stage. From the new album, we get the aforementioned title track alongside Dream On (which no radio station in the Netherlands will play, apparently), Automatic, Never Too Late and The Rise & Fall, with Prepare to Fall and the beautiful Down by the Water locked into the encore section.

Being the first night in a six week tour, it must be said that the performance tonight is pretty much flawless. The band is spot on and Macdonald is definitely a better performer than she was all those years ago, and I don’t think anyone in TivoliVredenburg’s Ronda hall can leave the venue disappointed. Those who have yet to see her on this tour are in for a treat, I can guarantee you that.

Setlist:

  1. Under Stars
  2. Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over
  3. Spark
  4. Youth of Today
  5. Mr. Rock & Roll
  6. Dream On
  7. Slow It Down
  8. 4th of July
  9. Pride
  10. Poison Prince
  11. Love Love
  12. Automatic
  13. The Rise and Fall
  14. Run
  15. This Is the Life
  16. Never Too Late
  17. Life in a Beautiful Light
  18. Prepare to Fall
  19. Down by the Water
  20. Let’s Start a Band

Further surfing:

Review by Ralph Plug

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