Jessie J, 14.10.2017
Location: Live Music Hall, Cologne,
Ticket price: 42,90€
Favourite song of the artist: Not my ex, Personal, Get away, L.O.V.E, Do it like a dude, You don’t really know me
Least favourite song of the artist: Real deal, Magnetic, Laser light
Favourite lyrics: “Everybody is staring at me. What do I do now? Smile!” (Big white room)
Favourite song live: Nobody’s perfect, Domino
Favourite quote of the night: „I signed it ‚Justin Bieber‘“
Why see this artist?
In March 2016 I decided that I would go and visit friends of mine in the US for a couple of weeks. I knew I needed music for the long flight and my travels in the US, because I am never able to sleep on a plane, a train, in the car etc. While clicking around youtube I stumbled over a video of Jessie J singing Purple rain by Prince. Before clicking on it I was more than sceptical and thought „Isn’t that the price tag chick?! Hopefully she won’t ruin the song!“ She looked different from what I thought to remember. And my god, could that woman sing! I got curious as to why I hadn’t discovered her sooner and bought all three of her album and a couple of singles so I had her whole oeuvre. I disliked quite a lot of it, liked some of it and fell head over heels in love with a couple of her songs,but mostly her voice. There were songs when I thought: „Why would they hide her voice in
the song? Why put that horrible beat underneath? Why damage her timbre with these stupid effects?“ Stuff like that can completely ruin a song for me. I had also bought the iTunes live gig and that was amazing. While travelling
to and through the US her music and recordings of live gigs on youtube became the soundtrack to a trip that would change my life in more ways than I can or want to explain here. I explored Orlando with ‚Masterpiece‘ playing, listened to ‚Personal’ on the drive back from New Orleans while having very serious conversations, sang ‚Do it like a dude’ one night walking around Chicago while laughing hysterically,chose ‚Domino’ as my beach song, cried to ‚I miss her’ on the flight from Houston and can’t listen to the song since, because I know the situation too well. And finally heard ‚You don’t really know me’ on the flight back home and felt like parts of it had been written for me. Funny enough I missed one of her concerts in Orlando by a mere two days. I was so sad. By then I knew I needed to see her live.
To find out when she would come on tour I followed her on instagram and twitter. What I saw on there weren’t the tour announcements I had hoped for, but things, which I won’t describe here, that made me cringe. At times I felt sorry for her, other times sad, sometimes I groaned and wondered why no one was simply taking her phone away from her to save her from herself. She kind of vanished without completely vanishing and after a while the posts began to change. She seemed more ‚stable‘, for the lack of a better word. Suddenly, in the middle of 2017 there were new songs and boy did they sound different. I loved it! You could actually hear Jessie J SING. Then she announced a small tour and I was finally lucky enough to get tickets to her show in Cologne. I was nervous though. Would she live up to my expectations? Spoiler alert: Hell yeah!
The Live Music Hall is a bit outside of, well, everything. It’s an industrial area. The building seems to be an old factory or industrial building. It has an open courtyard surrounded by two large halls. The inside is concrete on concrete. The columns in the middle of the room can become a problem during a concert if you want to see something.
We stood directly in front of the FOH, like I usually do when I don’t want to be squished to death by overenthusiastic crazy people infront of the stage. Because teenagers (or some who
had barely left these years behind) had been camping in front of the venue when we got there 5 hours before opening (we to sightsee and grab something to eat, they had obviously slept there) we knew it would become madness later. We were right. To be honest I think the venue was overcrowded and could have done with half the crowd. Even right in front of the FOH, which is usually middle-middle of the room, it became horrible at some point.
The show was opened by DeWayne when half the crowd was still outside waiting to be let in. Personally I liked it better when he sang than when he rapped, but felt a bit sorry for him that he played to an half empty room.
Second support group was Stanaj. Hands down best support act I’ve seen this year (not including Anne Marie, because I still feel like I saw two main artists on stage that night), even though there were some sound problems in the beginning. Great voice, good songs, nice guy. I really liked it.
Jessie J live on stage was amazing, there is no other word for it. It wasn’t a show with dramatics or dancers or any of that jazz. It was a solid concert where an amazing singer stood on stage and SANG. That’s all it needed.
She also talked quite a lot in between and explained what songs meant to her, made fun of herself and the audience and tried to talk to some of them. Sadly often in vain, because no matter what she asked the answer was often a screamed ‚I love you Jessie‘. When a girl fainted in the audience Jessie J made sure from stage that she was looked after, handed out water to her and talked to her for a second beside the stage.
She started the show with ‚Who you are“ which I thought was really fitting the concept of her reinventing herself as an artist. At times I think that the meaning of the lyrics can get lost in the screams of the audience, which was also true in this case.
She went on and played (not necessarily in this order) some of her biggest hits
like Domino, Nobody’s perfect, Flashlight and of course Price Tag. All of her songs sound so much better live, because of her amazing voice and technique, as well as her great band and backing vocals. Seriously, how amazing were these women and how sad is it that I don’t even know their names to mention them? She played Bang Bang, which I liked a lot better live, as opposed to ‚not at all‘ when I hear it on the radio. The only song I still didn’t like one bit is ‚Real deal‘, which again is only a thing of my personal taste. (Here is the explanation: I don’t like the melody, the repeated ‚woke up‘ and so on annoy me and lyrically the swearing doesn’t fit the love song it could be, but the talk of forever doesn’t fit a simple hook up song. There you have it).
As the only cover of the night she sang ‚Earth Song‘ by Michael Jackson, which was solid, but a bit lost on the audience, since they didn’t seem to know the lyrics, which caused her to go on a small rant mid-song about the importance of the song and how people should know it (I agree!). For simply personal reasons I had hoped she would play „Personal“ but knowing that she didn’t write the song and it isn’t one of her big hits, I knew chances were slim to none. ‚Do it like a dude‘ made me giggle as always and brought me right back to Chicago. Because she talked so much, there was no time to go off stage and wait for the audience to demand the encore, so she took it in her own hands „Just imagine I walk off, you scream, I come back….“.
It cracked me up when she went to sign a poster someone had made and then laughed and said she signed it as „Justin Bieber“. The poor fan didn’t catch the joke and Jessie J had to assure her from the stage that she hadn’t done it.
Equally epic was the moment when she called out to one of the ‚I love you‘ screamers and asked him what he wanted. Apparently he ducked away and she was like ‚Hey, now don’t hide! You keep interrupting me, screaming for my attention. You got it now, so speak up!“ I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes.
Several times throughout the night I thought that she is just hilarious and very kind. She is one of these people I’d just love to sit down with and chat for a while, because I think she really has something interesting to say. Nonetheless, I would probably challenge her to try some German tongue twisters – after all she mocked the audience by giving us English ones. I mean seriously, most people didn’t even have a clue what they were saying. It was one epic fail at onomatopoeia. On another side note she is also way more political on stage than one would assume when listening to her songs. The speeches she gives in between her songs about things that are important, I agree with everything wholeheartedly.
I think if you watch this video you will get an idea what I am talking about. It’s not mine, but it catches the essence of the whole concert and the artist so well. Thanks for uploading it!
Do it again? Absolutely. I am still hoping to see her at some very small club gig sometime, preferably in London, where people will be able to respond to her sarcasm, wit and comments on stage with comebacks instead of nonsensical screams.