Corinne Bailey Rae’s Resilient Return With ‘The Sea’

Corinne Bailey Rae
Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL
April 22, 2010

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Yet another West End artist fresh from Coachella, Corinne Bailey Rae brought an intimate show to the thousand-plus audience at the Vic Theatre. Once the five piece touring band walked on stage, the quiet murmur quickly became loud cheers lasting till Rae finished singing “Are You Here,” the starting song from The Sea. Waves of pastel green and violet light flooded the stage and flowed out into the audience as “Paris Nights/New York Mornings” sent the cozy crowd into a dancing mood.

More photos of Corinne Bailey Rae and the set list after the jump…

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The show turned into a sing-along once Rae’s strummed the first few chords of “Like A Star.” Fans of the song added a nice current underneath the singer’s next few songs which came from her self-titled album in 2006. This time around, Rae played the dreamy song with a mature tone. The tempo may have been slower, but the message was the same. A sultry Rae in “Till It Happens To You” was coupled with one funky keyboardist, Steve Brown who also serves as the musical director for The Sea tour. This time, the four minute song was extended with each member of Rae’s live band showing off their respective skills for a bit. Later in the set during “The Blackest Lily,” drummer Luke Flowers and guitarist John Maccalum brought out some of Rae’s best for an all out jam session on stage.

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My favorite part of the night would have to be her cover of “I Only Have Eyes For You,” a song covered by anyone from Jamie Cullum to Ella Fitzgerald. This is the one of the few versions brought back to life in another style, thanks to Rae.

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“I actually look for an excuse to play this song. It’s one of my favorites to perform and I hope you enjoy it, too,” Rae meekly explained before the mellow reggae rhythm started beating. There were even some hints of the “shoo-wop” style of Motown sprinkled throughout the song.

CBR Set List

Despite hints of the old school, Corinne Bailey Rae refuses to be retro. Using jazzy riffs and harmonic dissonance, Rae’s contemporary songwriting styles give her a unique spark unlike artists of the past. Her latest chart topping album The Sea skims pop music with the depth of her experiences. The set list streams through most of The Sea, including the best of Rae’s self titled album and a brilliant reggae-styled 1930s song.

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Before closing her set with “The Sea,” Rae recalls, “I guess this is the last song of the evening.” The crowd showed their obvious disappointment to not have more time with the UK songwriter. “It feels like it’s gone pretty quickly here. I really appreciate you coming out. Glad you’re into the new record. Thank you.” Corinne Bailey Rae then closed yet another thrilling set to a sold out Chicago audience with the title song, “The Sea.”

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It is fitting that Corinne Bailey Rae played a sold out show on Earth Day. Rae is currently holding ambassador roles for two charities establishing clean water internationally (Pump Aid) and international peacekeeping (CORD).

Corinne Bailey Rae Chicago

Click here and you can donate to Pump Aid and get an exclusive single from Corinne Bailey Rae!

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Corinne Bailey Rae Band:
– Musical director/keyboardist: Steve Brown
– Drummer/backing vocalist: Luke Flowers
– Guitarist/backing vocalist: John Maccalum
– Bassist: Kenny Higgins
– Guitarist/backing vocalist: Jennifer Birch

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Written by: Blake Russell
Photographed by: Jennifer Boyer

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