“Do you feel alright?” Beth asks a packed out crowd at the O2 Academy in Leeds to huge cheers from the audience.
Beth Hart is no stranger to this venue having played here two years previously. This time around, Beth brings with her in tow her superb new album Better Than Home.
With Hart, you get a versatile, genre-defying powerhouse of a vocalist and one of the great female singers of our time. She has real life experience in abundance which is reflected in her incredible songwriting.
It’s difficult to pigeon-hole Beth into a single genre of music. Whether she is grappling with the soul greats, singing the blues, delivering heartfelt ballads from behind her grand piano or just plain old rocking out, Hart is the complete package.
Tonight she opens the show with a jazz number, a cover of Melody Gardot’s “If I Tell You I Love You.” Hart takes to her piano as she delves deep into her extensive back catalog with the likes of “Skin” from her 1999 album Screamin’ For My Supper and the brilliant rendition of “Good as it Gets.” “Delicious Surprise” has the crowd clapping along, Beth sounding phenomenal.
The band turns it up a notch as Hart channels her inner rock goddess and launches into a raunchy rendition of “For My Friends,” as she dances and gyrates about on stage. The band sounds tight, including some great twin guitar harmonies coming from Jon Nichols and P.J Barth.
A healthy selection of tracks from Hart’s latest album received an airing tonight including the likes of happy song “Might As Well Smile” and “Tell Her You Belong To Me,” which Hart wrote about her father. However, it is “Trouble” which gets the crowd going; Hart has the them participate in some playful call and response.
Deviating from the set list, Hart decides it would be a good time to try “Tell ‘Em To Hold On.” As her band members are all seasoned musicians, they roll with it and sound amazing doing it while she sang her heart out.
The multi-talented Hart pulls up a chair at the front of the stage alongside guitarist Jon Nichols, as she is handed an acoustic guitar and takes us through “Get Your Shit Together”, ‘By Her” and the sublime “St. Teresa”.
Turn back the clocks to 2012 and Hart received critical acclaim for her performance of “I’d Rather Go Blind” with the legendary Jeff Beck at the Kennedy Center Honors. However, tonight Hart gives us a spellbinding rendition of another Etta James classic in the shape of “Somethings Got a Hold On Me”, leaving the Leeds crowd wanting more.
Only too happy to oblige, Hart returned to her piano, and gave a beautiful rendition of “Mama This One’s For You” dedicated to her mother who was celebrating her 79th birthday, before closing out the show with “Better Than Home” to rapturous applause.
One thing to note with Hart is that no two shows are alike; her set list changes almost every night. There aren’t too many artists who do that these days, and it’s certainly refreshing.
You won’t see many better shows this year. Beth Hart came, she sang, she conquered Leeds.