It’s a venue that’s hosted the likes of Aerosmith, Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney but it’s never been known for hosting gospel events. In fact, Sarah Téibo’s show at the Hard Rock Cafe in London might well have been a first.
The venue was perfect for this type of show. It was intimate, with the artists right in front of you. It had the bustle of a packed live venue, although the people shouting their orders at the bar did take away from the performances at times. And there was no cloakroom so we had to hold our coats the whole time but we’re just nitpicking now.
We were there to see Sarah Téibo after all, not to get too taken in by the albeit legendary venue.
Since we last saw Sarah live in August last year she’s been nominated for a MOBO award and riding the wave of the success of her debut album. And although she received equal headline billing on her show with Lisa McClendon, this show was the one that she could properly say was hers. And boy, did she enjoy it (as did we).
Part one bore a resemblance to her show last summer – starting off with Walk With Me and passing through the hits off the album of the same name. But when we got to intermission and she’d already sung Steal My Joy, New Day and Keep the Faith, we were intrigued as to what would follow in the second half.
Téibo finds her soul
Part two started off with a walk down memory lane. Love by Kirk Franklin, Falling In Love With Jesus by Jonathan Butler and I Found Him by Kim Burrell all went down well. The latter was an angle of Sarah we haven’t seen before and we loved the old school gospel sound coming from her.
Then came some new music which we weren’t expecting. Sarah Téibo is cooking up with freshness and from what we hear so far, it sounds good. First came One Man – a new one with Lurine Cato, who joined her on stage for the song. There was also another one but we only had time for a slight preview.
We haven’t heard enough to say this definitely but this sounds like a new direction for Sarah. It would appear that spending time with Lisa McClendon last year rubbed off on her because there was a very definite neo-soul flavour to both of the new tracks we heard. It was the perfect marriage for the Hard Rock Cafe but we want it in our headphones. NOW! (We’re super impatient).
Elsewhere, Israel J Allen, Lurine Cato, Isaiah Raymond and Tneek supported the headliner.Last night was the first time we’ve seen Tneek live. We’re looking for to seeing more from her. As for Isaiah Raymond, he’s incredibly animated on stage. Great for audiences but a photographer’s nightmare. He gave us a house track that was new to our ears.
Sarah Téibo’s Hard Rock Cafe show wasn’t the 2016 show but five months later. It showed that she’s constantly evolving and creating. For anyone who went to both shows as we did, there was enough to relish. And to be honest, even if it was exactly the same, we wouldn’t have complained too much. That woman is so talented she could sing the phone book and still win over audiences. We were reminded of that once again last night and the fact that it took place in a historic venue was just the icing on the cake for us.