Ludovico Einaudi at the Hammersmith Apollo
Ludovico Einaudi himself has admitted that he is difficult to classify. This, critics say, is because he draws on such a wide range of influences. He is a fan of the Beatles and Eminem, but writes like a minimalist master of the mid-20th century, without the inaccessibility often associated with classical composers. His live show illustrates that he is in no need of classification, as he runs through all of these styles with skill and aplomb. Einaudi is a good all-rounder, if nothing else.
Sat centre-stage with his back to the audience, he trills on a grand piano with a mastery that used to be associated with geniuses. He plays to a large black canvas, on which dance mathematical symbols, water, smoke – elements both natural and artificial, and during the first half of the show he plays many tracks from his new album, Elements. He also slips in a few classics, including the theme from This Is England, which elicits cooing from the audience.
The musical instruments are stretched in new ways: guitars sound like clocks, drums sound in turns tribal and hypnotic, and a slab is dipped in water and toyed with by a tuning fork, creating vibrations that make you feel like you should be 40,000 leagues below sea level. Naturally, Einaudi’s sound is immediately televisual, and whisks you off to those programmes you have loved – or, if not, reminds you deeply of comfortable Sunday evening viewing, or the intensity of TV drama. This is where his true power lies.
In the second half he ramps it up even more, with a full light show. The black canvas turns blood-red, the stage erupts in horizontal searchlights, cutting through the Apollo’s genteel gloom. At one point Einaudi channels Fleetwood Mac, at another, modern electronic music. He is a connoisseur who can prepare a satisfying roast, caring little for nouvelle cuisine. He plays classics Nuvole Bianche, and Logos.
He even does an encore. Einaudi is a rockstar. The audience cheer him back onstage, shouting “Ludo!”, as if the man is the newest incarnation of the Gallagher brothers. If it were a Springsteen concert, they would shout “The Boss!”, but the message is the same. So when he finally leaves to rapturous applause, and the crowd filters out into the night, one feels that frisson of having seen a something extraordinary – a sensation, that is quite inexplicable. Einaudi’s music explains all, without requiring any words whatsoever.
Photos: Nick Bennett
For further information about Ludovico Einaudi and future events visit here.
Watch Einaudi talk about Elements here: