Imogen Heap Warwick Arts Centre

True to the spirit of the night Imogen Heap entered the stage in All Hallows costume, a dark witch followed by a legion of jack o’ lanterns brought out by her indulgent support crew, setting a wonderfully theatrical scene to the the night which lay ahead.

However it wasn’t just the star of the show who was in costume either – there were several others in the audience in imaginative attire getting in on the act. The best dressed of the lot have to be three individuals in the seated area above us mere casual mortals. Elmo, the Cookie Monster, and Big Bird, from Sesame Street, all overlooking a gig performed by our captivating witch.

Speaking of whom, its safe to say, pretty much everyone will have come across an Imogen Heap song at least once in the last decade. The English singer-songwriter has provided us with many a good tune in the noughties, and the media men have taken note littering her music around all kinds of adverts, films and TV shows. One of her most famous and a personal favourite, ‘Let Go’ that came from her short-lived collaborative act with Guy Sigsworth, Frou Frou, was used in the cult favourite Garden State; whilst ‘Hide And Seek’ even found its way on to the OC back in the day.

Despite the somewhat indirect interaction many will have had with Imogen Heap stumbling across her unique brand of wistful folky jives through an assorted variety of cult media. However the dark witch of tonight’s live show is clearly assemble her own cult, without the help of Zach Braff or the OC. Tonight Heap took every opportunity to soak up the goodwill showed to her by fellow Halloween revellers, the Cookie Monster & Co, including the crowd generously at all points in the evening.

She began the show by mentioning to us that, among songs from her new album ‘Ellipse’, she was going to give much of the control of the gig to her fans. Throughout the tour she has been taking polls to find her most loved tracks and she promised to play them all live. Which she did, fantastically.

Unfortunately the gig wasn’t without its faults. The biggest fault was how big
a chatterbox this wonderful artist was onstage. At the start of the gig it was quite welcoming to hear so much about the life of this stranger. But it got old, very fast.

Between each song she began a story, which went nowhere. She even included such inane discussions such as her decision to substitute alcohol for peppermint tea (I hear sales for peppermint tea in Costies withered a little the following week. So much for product placement!) When you’ve paid out money for a ticket to see an artist, it seemed a little bit self indulgent, and it got to the point where there were many moments where you felt like she should shut up and get on with it.

When she was singing she was incredible. When she wasn’t, she was irritatingly dull. This meant for this particular Halloween show it felt like you were experiencing only half of a truly amazing gig; the other half, alternatively felt like a substandard, slightly kooky stand-up act. It was as if she had decided that this was to be ‘an audience with Imogen Heap’, rather than a concert for the attendees.

This was definitely a show of two halves. A shared Halloween Party Imogen made it, a truly breathtaking show it was at points, but as they say: ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’. This should have been a music concert, instead for the first time perhaps, this artist’s particular vision got the better of her, this evening anyway.


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