Since I am sitting in the Student Center and essentially trying to kill time for the next 45 minutes, it sounds like this would be the PERFECT time to talk about one of the coolest things that happened this summer: the Sam Smith concert!
The post-concert depression was present to concert attendees everywhere that friday night. We were all graced with the voice of the wonderful, incredibly talented Sam Smith.
I greatly appreciate and value live music. I love artists who have the charisma and vocal control to reel in even the least frequent listener, and boy Sam Smith was exactly that! The raw voice. The live instrumentation. The presence. The environment. Perfection.
So, that means I officially completed another task off of “The List” that I added over a year ago:
See Sam Smith live
The Opener – Gavin James
The sold out event was held at the Toyota Center in downtown Houston, which happens to be one of the biggest concert venues in the city (other than the Minute Maid Stadium used for Bey and Jay’s “On the Run” states tour). Sam Smith never thought he’d “be in a place this massive,” he admitted between the first few songs performed. Gavin James, the opening act, also expressed his excitement for the large crowd by posting this picture on his Instagram!
Gavin James has been an artist that I had only recently discovered about a month or two before the concert. I first fell in love with his song “Nervous” (which you can give a listen to right now) and as I walked into the arena after my chicken strip basket, guess what song was playing? It was truly incredible.
Gavin James is what you call an “Ed Sheeran” performer. One who focuses on the vocals and his acoustic guitar over anything else. Honestly, the performance was just his mic and his guitar plugged in, two spotlights on this stool, and a logo on the screen.
The rawness of his performance, especially during “Nervous,” truly took my breath away. Each high note, each belt, each strum of the guitar was exactly what I had been craving to hear this summer. I truly aspire to become an artist who can broadcast a sound that is as pure as his. Such an amazing opener for Sam Smith.
The Main Event – Sam Smith
Without a doubt, everyone must know that Sam Smith has incredible talent in not only singing, but also songwriting. Before I attended the concert, however, I was totally unaware of this man’s performing capabilities. It surprised me! Sam Smith is one of those artists who I consider “better live than on track,” which is rare for this day and age. There are a few things I would like to touch on and explain about this concert.
- Stage and Extras
As you can see from the picture below, Sam Smith created a fairly simple stage set up compared to many big name acts today. For example, if you were to go to an Ariana Grande (don’t get it twisted, I love her and her voice) concert, you will see gigantic, animated props such as the big floating cloud that she sings “Best Mistake” on, several back up dancers and band members, a fantastic light show, digital effects as back up to the songs, and extravagant costumes that were fitting. On Sam Smith’s tour , however, the stage housed six blocks mounting only live instrumentation/ backup singers, two small screens for close up video, and a simple light sequence. The rawness of his stage presence allows the listeners, in my opinion, to listen closely to the songs and to absorb the voice rather than “the show.” There were even instances where Smith was under one spotlight alone. Truly an incredible sight to see.
2. Stage Presence
Oh Sam! He is honestly the sweetest thing when he is on stage. Before each song or series of songs, Smith, unlike any artist i’ve seen live, takes the time to explain to the audience his true meaning of the song. Many artists (especially pop and hip hop artists) face tough critiques on their songs when their lyrics are interpreted by others. Live, in front of thousands of people, is probably the best way Sam could have explained himself. He truly wanted to inform the listeners of not only his mindset when he wrote his songs on “In The Lonely Hour,” but also the influences that caused him to express the feelings that he had. All I have to say is: I HATE THE MAN THAT DID THIS TO HIM. With each song performed, Sam kept in touch with the emotions he felt at the time he was writing and projected that to audience. Even though many of the songs were depressing, Sam did take advantage of his upbeat songs by dancing and enjoying his time with the band on the stage. And most importantly, after every run or ending of the song, he smiled and thanked the audience.
3. THE VOICE
Do I even need to explain at this point? Sam Smith’s raw, live voice completely amazed me. His riffs and runs, though not considered “the most challenging” when you compare it to many of the popular chart-toppers in the past 25 years, were precise and carefully added. What attracts me to his voice in particular is his vocal control and smooth-style of singing, with emphasis on VOCAL CONTROL. I mean, have you heard his voice? I truly believe that Sam Smith has fully mastered his falsetto transitions. I honestly really do have a weak spot for male artists with a strong falsetto voice, i’m not going to lie. Other than that, you can really tell how fitting his songs are to his voice, which in my book marks a true artist. I thank God for his throat surgeon who preserved that beautiful voice of his. The world would not be the same without it.
I’m sorry i’m a bit nerdy when it comes to music critiques and technicalities! Without a doubt a night to remember though! I would like to give a BIG thanks to my mom who bought us tickets and to Sam and his band and tech crew for making that night so enjoyable. Looking forward to my next concert next week with Kelly Clarkson and Pentatonix! I’m sure they will not disappoint.
Until next time babies, stay tuned for more updates regarding school, my life, maybe even fashion and beauty next time!