Talented. Masterful. Unmistakable. These are just a few words used to describe Gregory Porter and his band, who finally performed in the Welsh capital after a two-year delay. They had a lot to live up to with this high praise – and they didn’t disappoint.
Buzzing with excitement, the audience welcomed the Grammy award-winning singer touring his sixth studio album, All Rise, to the Cardiff stage. Opening with the energetic and gospel-inspired Revival, Porter’s distinctive voice instantly filled the room, and it was only moments before the audience was clapping along. It was clear that he was an artist at home in front of an audience.
During the mix of blues, gospel, and jazz tunes, blue and red lights and a thin fog filled the stage, inducing an ethereal feel. Little touches – like tales of dinner with Tom Jones and inviting a Royal Welsh College student on stage to play alongside his band – made this show feel special. Penultimate number Thank You, Mr Holland epitomised Gregory Porter’s melodic ease and contagious delight in music, bringing the audience to their feet for a much-deserved standing ovation.
An ovation was shared with special guest Lady Blackbird, who opened the show. Appearing in a crystal leotard, her first, deep, lyrical note brought the room to silence. Premiering her debut album, Black Acid Soul, the singer – real name Marley Munroe – held the audiences’ attention with technically challenging melodies and heartfelt lyrics. Throughout the set, her fabric wings moved harmoniously, creating an almost hypnotic addition to the likes of signature tune Blackbird.
This show tackled issues like race and love and was fuelled by positivity. As Porter concluded with You Can Join My Band, it was hard not to accept the invite – and keep the show going forever.
Motorpoint Arena Cardiff, Fri 13 May
words ELOUISE HOBBS photos TIM ALBAN
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