Review: Birdy, Sage Gateshead


Birdy performing at Sage Gateshead. Credit Marie Westmoreland
Birdy landed in Gateshead on Halloween and performed a spine-tingling show at Sage Gateshead

The 20-year-old British singer-songwriter delivered a powerful show packed with emotional piano ballads about relationship breakdowns, love and heartbreak. 

Perched at a grand piano in the centre of the stage the songbird showcased her hauntingly beautiful vocals, which are as strong as they are delicate, as she sang a variety of songs from her three albums.  Backed by a superb live band, who were nestled among draped shredded fabric, hanging from the ceiling, there was a theatrical element to the show which complemented the equally captivating music. 

It was the perfect setting for airing songs such as People Help The People, Young Blood, and one of her more popular tracks, Wild Horses. The title track from her third album, Beautiful Lies, which was released in March this year, was a pleasure to hear live and before performing Unbroken from the same album,  she introduced the track as one of her 'favourites'.

Her cover of Bon Iver’s Skinny Love, which was her debut single and breakthrough release in 2011, was a real highlight too. You could have heard a pin drop as fans listened in a respectful silence during the poignant parts, before joining in to sing along with the chorus. 

Leaving the piano to stand at the front of the stage, Birdy showcased her fantastic guitar playing abilities – there seemed to be no end to this lady’s talent.  Dressed in a gothic velvet, floor-length dress, the pale-skinned beauty looked fabulous too and at times reminiscent of American singer-songwriter, Joni Mitchell.

Wings, from her 2013 album Fire Within, was the one song everyone was waiting to hear, and huge cheers roared as it began. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Birdy’s music, you’re sure to know this song as it featured on a Lloyds advert, with their iconic black horse running through historic scenes to the rhythm of the song. 

Rising star Dan Owen, who opened the show with a fantastic short support slot, joined Birdy on stage for the encore and together they delivered a heartfelt, emotional duet of Let It All Go.  Ending with the uplifting Keeping Your Head Up, the whole audience were on their feet in appreciation for Birdy, whose career no doubt will keep on soaring. 


Words and photographs: Marie Westmoreland

Published in: November 2016

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