Emeli Sandé and Professor Green at KOKO
Winner of Brit Awards’ British Female Solo Artist and British Album of the Year, Emeli Sandé and Brit Award nominated Professor Green performed at KOKO as part of Virgin Records’ 40th birthday celebrations dubbed “40 Years of Disruptions”.
Professor Green played first, opening with I Need Church. He kicked off with what would continue to be an engaging and consistent performance, despite an unenthusiastic crowd who largely appeared to be waiting for Emeli Sandé. He powered through Are You Getting Enough, maintaining high energy levels alongside his band members despite the unresponsive crowd, a fact which wasn’t lost on Green who at one point addressed the audience, asking: “Are we still alive in here?”
At one point he took a moment to defend his marriage against recent tabloid gossip after being spotted without his wedding ring. He performed an a cappella preview of a song from his new album, a tribute to his wife, Made in Chelsea star Millie Mackintosh, rapping: “She came into my life now everything is so sweet,” and describing her as his “perfect match”. Green closed his set with Read All About It, and the audience showed real excitement for the first time, singing along to the chorus, sung by Green’s backing vocalist, Katie Holmes, and gearing up for the main event.
Emeli Sandé entered the stage with the grace and professionalism of a natural performer. She opened her set with her debut single Daddy and the audience transformed at once into a far more responsive entity as their eagerly-awaited star had arrived. With her piano set up sideways to the crowd, Sandé looked out towards her singing fans throughout the opening song. The audience emanated seemingly unanimous adoration for Sandé, whose energy never lulled and vocals never faltered through minimal staging arrangements and crystal clear lyrics.
Clearly enjoying the performance as much as her fans, Sandé smiled all the way through a reggae-inspired rendition of Where I Sleep. Changing the mood with the natural ease of a seasoned performer, Sandé began a beautifully stripped back and emotional version of Suitcase, accompanied only by a bass guitar, so that the audience could “hear all the words”.
Sandé’s performance was finely tuned: both sincere and light-hearted in all the right places, her vocals were effortlessly soulful and she was a joy to watch. Sandé had her audience hanging on her every word and left all wanting more.
Photos: Alejo Garcia
Watch the video for Clown here: