Lea Michele at Shoreditch Town Hall
The refreshingly diverse crowd at the cosy, elegant yet understated Shoreditch Town Hall erupts into jubilant applause as Lea Michele struts into her first and only show on the European leg of her tour, “An Intimate Evening with Lea Michele”. World-renowned for major roles in television shows Glee and Scream Queens, the triple threat performer is promoting her second album, Places, which follows her debut Louder. In the three years since her first record, Michele has morphed into a different, distinctly happier woman, and she wishes to reflect this change in her new work.
It is between songs that we discover who Michele truly is: a genuinely thoughtful, hilarious, and accomplished person. As she announces a new tune, Sentimental Memories, one particularly excited fan makes her enthusiasm vocal with a “Yeah!” everyone can almost hear the fist pump in. The singer laughs and, after asking the exhilarated fan her name, says, “I love you! You just cured my jet lag!”. Moments like these can only occur during such an intimate performance, with each of the five hundred plus fans transformed in their own way throughout the night.
After sharing yet another amusing anecdote, the artist performs the up-tempo, soaring, dynamic number entitled Anything’s Possible, which seems to be made for her voice. It demonstrates her captivating ability to change her voice from forceful and Broadway-esque to soft and fragile. It is hard to decide whether to look at Michele or the ceiling sparkling above her like a tiny galaxy. Towards the end of the song, as she hits and holds an extremely high note, she struggles to be heard over the euphoric audience’s deafening approval.
Run to You and Battlefield are perhaps two of her most spectacular tracks, ridden with heavy sorrow and painful love. Similarly, Heavy Love evokes tangibly miserable memories from a love you “just know is not good for you, but you do it anyways”. In one of the only flukes in the show, Michele’s microphone is off in the beginning. In a humanising moment, she explains, “I turned my microphone off!” before gracefully acting like nothing happened. She shines as she delivers blatantly revealing lyrics such as “Dear lover, put another pill upon my tongue/ Forever, wrap me in your heavy love”.
A few songs later, after a Glee medley and a forged exit, Michele returns onstage to booming applause. “I don’t think this one needs any introduction,” she explains as she begins playing her closing number, You’re Mine from Louder. One can feel the emotion drench the lyrics dedicated to her late boyfriend Cory Monteith, who died from a drug overdose. The crowd becomes one, swaying in their chairs to the powerful words sung by her equally impressive voice, which has become quiet and vulnerable in a beautiful way. There is a sense of unity that is impossible to ignore.
Photo: Lunchbox LP
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Listen to the audio for Run to You here: