Sam Smith Supported By Years & Years
by Emily Pratten
After a year of guesting on some of the biggest tracks of the moment, such as La La La and Latch, Sam Smith dropped his highly successful debut album and set out on tour. I was lucky enough to get into his show at Colston Hall in Bristol, and after a small mix up with tickets, we managed to get in on time to see the support act.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m a ridiculous Years & Years fan, who were the support act for Sam Smith that evening. They were incredible as per usual, starting off with many in the crowd not really knowing who they were and ending with most people firmly on their side, dancing and singing where they could, cheering extraordinarily loudly as they left the stage. It was certainly a proud moment. New single, Desire, proved very popular, and slower songs, Eyes Shut and Memo, provided an emotional atmosphere ready for Sam Smith to contribute to.
Having not been to a large or high profile concert in a while, the first thing that struck me about Sam Smith was the reception he got upon entering the room. His band and backing singers had already taken their positions, and as Sam walked up the steps onto the stage and the lights fell down on him the uproar was ridiculous. I’m not a loyal follower of Sam Smith but even I have to admit I was mildly starstruck to see someone so famous in the flesh. He smiled and looked quite shy and I wondered how this sweet looking man was ever going to be able to sing to such a huge room.
As soon as he opened his mouth to sing however, it became evident that this was not a problem. Regardless of the mild-mannered stage presence, Smith’s voice is certainly very commanding and extremely emotional. It was like being treated to ballad after ballad rather than pop songs. Starting with Nirvana, going into I’m Not The Only One, followed by Like I Can meant a very emotional start to the show. There was a mild lull for me in the middle where I felt as though every song appeared the same, but that may simply be because I do not know all of his material or listen to this genre of music on a regular basis, rather than anything done wrong by Sam. The crowd were at his beck and call throughout - his cover of Whitney Houston’s How Will I Know was met with raucous applause.
He finished with the well known single La La La and Disclosure’s Latch before the big finale, which was always going to be Stay With Me, to which every single person in the building was singing along to, even the security guards I imagine. Despite the basic delivery and very simple performance, his voice was powerful and undoubtedly one of the best voices, technically, that I’ve ever heard live. Any criticism I have of this performance would be unwarranted, as it would be due to my own personal opinion and preferences rather than faults in the music itself. I would be extremely surprised if anyone left the venue disappointed and it’s easy to see why his debut album, In The Lonely Hour, has been so successful.