Bathed in a womb-warm, pumpkin-orange light, the glorious, cavernous Sage One pulsed with a warm, energising mood on a chilly North East Halloween night. A bluesy start then from Shrewsbury lad Dan Owen saw him kicking off the evening with a rattle through his back catalogue, and a resoundingly solid, workmanlike warm-up; one enlivened no end by a buoyant drunk heckler who either settled down or fell asleep before the arrival of our main event, after which not the slightest befuddled peep was heard.
Or perhaps, like the rest of us in the room, he was stunned into immediate silence and awestruck reverie by the phenomenal Jasmine Lucilla Elizabeth Jennifer van den Bogaerde, or, Birdy to you and me. With only a scant three albums in the chamber, it’s entirely remarkable then to experience an impeccable set of songs and a blistering, radiant presence you’d be more minded to expect from an artist with rich decades under their belt. An artist not unlike Kate Bush, for whom comparisons with Birdy are not only entirely – if a little precipitately – earned, but were nailed home with a cheeky about-face from new tune Silhouette into the great Kate’s 1985 Hounds of Love opening banger Running Up that Hill.
A plump and satisfying set saw the numinous, angelic Birdy completely commanding the room, blasting through the highlights of her eponymous 2011 debut album, 2013’s Fire Within and this year’s latest Beautiful Lies; of course, in a world where her discography is overflowing with future classics, the highlights are glittering indeed.
Launching with Shadow, Beating Heart and Hear You Calling, the impeccable vocals were polished but never outshone by the spectacular light show around them; the glittering, ephemeral stage-work only serving as a beautiful (at times heart-stoppingly so) complement to an artist who could, frankly, have turned up sitting rag-covered on a manky soapbox with only a tin whistle and her gleaming voicebox and still have broken a roomful of hearts. Crushing the night entirely, this barnstormer of a show wound its way to the inevitable standing ovation it had already earned in advance, bringing it home with the booming trifecta of Let It All Go, Dream and Keeping Your Head Up.
With Halloween all but forgotten by a crowd locked into the Birdy universe for a solid couple of hours, we poured out into the frost-glittered night to happily hail our surge-priced Ubers, faces lit with phonelight as we rushed to download her discography, and hearts full as we all wondered, excitedly, whatever will she do next?