David Gray at Royal Albert Hall
Walking into the Royal Albert Hall, a noticeably small crowd is hard to miss, but they constitute a crowd nonetheless; David Gray has successfully managed to maintain a fanbase. It’s all rather docile and civilized: the audience patiently wait for Gray to come on stage, and when he finally does (punctually) with his six-piece band, there is a soft wave of clapping before he starts his set.
The show is opened with Gulls, the last song on his new album Mutineers, out in June 2014. A beautifully clear sound amplified his rugged voice and piano, the Royal Albert Halls’ acoustics echoing the band’s complex layering of sounds. Following this, tracks off his new album The Incredible and As the Crow Flies employ Gray’s classic doleful acoustic guitar and yearning lyrics but seem to lose the full attention of a seated audience. However, a bouncy and energetic finish to the title track of his album adds a sense of urgency to the whole affair, with sharp harmonica and electric guitar shaking awake a few yawners.
Haunting cello and slow, rhythmic percussion convey the melancholic emotion of Last Summer and the sorrowful The Birds of the High Arctic. After performing Beautiful Agony and having his band wave giant fluorescent glow sticks around, Gray thanked the audience for their patience in listening to his new material, evidently aware of the subdued atmosphere. A quicker pace and familiar music recaptures the interest of the audience with You’re the One I love and fans even get up and start dancing to Please Forgive Me. Gray performs his famed Babylon for the encore, just himself and a guitar, managing to involve a more than willing crowd in rapture. For This Years Love, the cellist and double bassist accompanied Gray, followed by the entire band for the end of his set.
Whilst there were points at which the audience seemed a bit lost, David Gray’s talent and popularity emerged victorious with roars and whistles following him off the stage. Despite not having released an album since 2010, Gray has managed to fill the Royal Albert Hall with loyal fans; a comfort for him and his new album Mutineers, and a reward for them.
Photos: Andrei Grosu
For further information and future events visit David Gray’s website here.
Watch the music video for Back in the World here: