Freya Ridings at Eventim Apollo
A yew tree filled with orange lights to represent the titular blood oranges stands at the back centre of the stage, creating a picturesque, fairytale element to Freya Ridings’s Blood Orange tour show. Further lights crisscross the stage, changing from royal blue and foggy light green during Weekends, before evolving throughout the night to suit the mood of the music. Ridings is a multi-instrumentalist and she begins the gig by swinging her hair and strumming the guitar, before moving to a piano.
Ridings’s singing voice ranges from rich, deep tones to higher notes, demonstrating an impressive vocal range, which adds depth to her songs. When Ridings performs Perfect on the piano, it lights up in a way which makes it look like a bathtub from further back in the crowd, creating an intimate, vulnerable feeling, further accentuated by her controlled, soft yet powerful vocals.
Down to earth and personable, the singer speaks to the audience with a humbleness that is fairly rare to see. She is confident and clearly having a lot of fun, and yet she is also honest about her journey and self-image. She introduces her songs by explaining the origin story behind them and then invites the audience to see if they identify, as with Face in the Crowd, which is all about longing to see someone you’ve let go of.
During this section of the performance, the teal stage lights highlight the yew tree with warm oranges and pinks, blending together to create a colour scheme that looks like a Renoir painting. Ridings’s set list takes us on a journey, from early songs like Weekend and Can I Jump, which have themes of self-doubt, loneliness and loss in an acoustic pop sound. As the night goes on, the vibe transforms through the more bassy, ethereal gothic score Waking Up, which sounds like something you’d expect from Evanescence, before experiencing a more drum-heavy, angry Wither on the Vine.
Towards the end of the night, the energy picks up and becomes more celebratory and confident, as she introduces the more self-assured Rise. Commissioned for Universal Pictures’s Teenage Kraken, it’s about finding out you were always the person you needed and growing into yourself. Finally, the gig ends with Ridings’s most well-known songs that put her on the map: Lost Without You and Castles. The order of the tracks took us on a voyage, not through time but through emotion, from loneliness, loss and doubt, through anger and finding yourself, and finally looking back on your achievements and being proud of where you were at the start.
Photos: Virginie Viche
For further information and future events visit Freya Ridings’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Weekends here: