A swift return to Bush Hall for #TEAMw21 for one of Britain's most successful and well travelled exports having played in 46 of the 50 United States. One of her touring partners has been Jesse Terry and it Jesse who was to play the role of support tonight , and opening up his short set with "Kaleidoscope", a dreamy Beatles like song from his "Stargazer" album. Accompanied by Alan Fish on additional guitar they made a well matched pair, with Alan picking out guitar lines to accompany Jesse's outline tune.
Things speeded up with the second song "Runaway Town" and it was hard not to notice Jesse was constantly smiling as he played his set, he did observe that he rarely gets to play venues with chandeliers! There then followed a slightly surreal moment as Jesse was to sing a song synonymous with a female voice in the shape of "Stargazer" more commonly associated with Sarah Darling. If anyone was going to have a go at singing it, it makes sense for it to be Jesse as he actually wrote it and he delivered a beautifully stripped back version. The introduction to "Noise" was interesting as it gave us an alternative way in which to interpret what we were listening to that wasn't Jesse's original intention.
It was hard not to like Jesse, he was warm and engaging with lovely stories to tell and nothing quite beat the almost Hollywood treatment that was the background to "Empty Seat On A Plane" beamed back live to his pregnant partner back in the States, it'll be the feel good movie of the year if it ever gets made!. He'll be back in London later in the year at St Pancras Old Church for a show that will be well worth a visit.
The joy of seeing Callaghan over the years has been that you could never be sure in which guise she would appear, sometimes solo, sometimes with a keyboard or a guitar player and even memorably with a cello player, tonight for her biggest London show to date it was with a full band. There was also no resting on her laurels, and those hoping for only her earlier material may have been surprised at just how much of it she chose to leave out in favour of the new album which has been drip fed as three EP's. So although the evening may have been introduced by long term fan and supporter Bob Harris, tonight's repertoire reflected more of Callaghans recent move to LA in terms of sound.
Her set opened with "Surrender" and two things immediately became apparent, the first being that the band were incredibly sympathetic with the drummer sensibly on brushes so as not to overpower the sound, the second thing was just how marvelous it was to hear Callaghans voice swirl around Bush Hall. For the opening song she had been on guitar but it was a swift change to guitar for the more upbeat "Solid Ground" showing a rockier side to her catalogue.
It was not all new material though, "Crazy Beautiful Life" brought in the funky sound of summer, while for the second time in a few days #TeamW21 found themselves at Bush Hall singing along to "Stand By Me". Sometimes bands grab your attention by giving flashy solo's or light shows, for Callaghan it was achieved with simplicity and nothing exemplified that like the captivating "When You Loved Me". From there it was another batch of songs from the new album, the high tempo of "The Other Side", to "Skin On Skin" co-written with the writer of "Wind Beneath my Wings".
Callaghan has always been a big John Denver fan and her slightly deconstructed version of "Annie's Song" was almost hypnotic and ethereal as the audience hung off every last syllable. The surprise of the night which brought a huge smile so Callahan's face was the quality of the whistling of the West London crowd for "Better Together" which got a great reception, the latest EP was mined for "If You Miss Me When I'm Gone" which was revealed as being inspired by a dream about talking to a dead person, . while "The End Of The World" received one of the best rounds of applause of the night, as it reached a stupendous climax. The main set was to close with the party atmosphere of "Best Year".
A couple of encores finished the night with the lullaby of "All Through The Night" and the audience participation on "We Don't Have To Change the World"..