So Annie was playing at The Roundhouse in London last night as part of the Voicestorm concert in aid of the Body & Soul charity that celebrated the late Dame Anita Roddick. So firstly, please visit their website to find out more about this amazing organisation, its so easy to see how and why Annie is involved! So visit Body & Soul to discover more about their world.
Various artists were introduced throughout the evening, starting with Lauren Pritchard, Mel C and Alice Russell. Edith Bowman had been hosting the evening. I was aprticualrly impressed with Mel C and for audience engagement, Alice Russell won the prize! Interstingly, Mel C’s keyboard player was Peter Vettese, Peter won a grammy for his arrangement on Walking On Broken Glass, but Peter is also credited on pretty much every Annie Lennox solo recording in some way. Take a look at his credits in our People section under the menu.
Then before Annie came on to perform, Anita Roddick’s daughter Sam accompanied a wonderful young woman onto stage to talk about the effect that being HIV positive had on her at school and the stigma attached to her status, her story told how Body & Soul had helped her to become the woman that she is now, a very, very touching presentation.
Sam Roddick then went on to talk about her mother, and her hopes for the world and keeping our mouths open until the innocent who have HIV are accepted a part of society without any stigma. She spoke passionately how Annie Lennox had helped fill the void her mother had left and that Annie was now her mentor, and with that Annie came onto stage.
Annie was centre stage with her piano and had no backing band, which seems to be her preferred style at the moment for these performances.
She opened with the Jimmy Cliff classic Many Rivers to Cross and really seemed to be feeling the positive vibes coming from the audience, and delivered a very emotional performance.
In between the songs, Annie spoke about stigma attached to people with an HIV+ status, she spoke about her T-Shirt and that she stands in solidarity with those who have are HIV+ but cannot say anything for fear of being exposed, she also said how she would love to ask the audience to put their hands up if they were HIV+ without fear of being judged (She didn’t) but wanted to prove a point. Annie then performed No More I Love You’s and dedicated it to a man in the audience that Annie had previously met, who proudly stated he was HIV+.
At times I think Annie was so excited her piano playing towards the end kept running away and she had to keep up the singing, but you could see the enjoyment on her face. Many of us commented after the concert that rarely had we seen Annie be so playful with the audience as you’ll read in a moment.
Next up was a very nice surprise, Annie performed Pavement Cracks, and have to say it worked really well with just Annie and the piano, there was new depth to the song that I hadn’t really noticed before which is often the way when a song is stripped right back from its production on a final release.
And then the moment many of us had been hoping for, Annie performed for the first time in front of a live audience her new single Universal Child! You could see Annie concentrating far more on performing this track, her eyes were closed for much of the performance, but certainly did not disappoint, there was huge smile from her at the end, probably out of relief!
Then came the crowd pleasers, and by now Annie was really feeding from the energy from the audience, first up was Little Bird, and she got the audience joining in the chorus, but she stopped the song as the audience just were not up to scratch with their singing, she joked her way through, and got up from the piano to get the audience going.
Annie then went on to speak about Anita Roddick and her message she sent out and spread out to people which was simple – “Be An Activist”. She wasn’t preaching to anybody, she was just telling you like it is. If you want to see the change, then you have to be the change. Annie said how much she liked that , I like the fact that you can take power, you don’t have to leave it to anyone else, and there are plenty of things you can do. Anita’s whole life is a testament to that, and lets just think about her, and be inspired, because that is what she would have wanted. Annie then played the opening chords to There Must Be An Angel. Again, Annie stopped the song a couple of times to chat and joke with the audience, she wanted a lot of arm waving and chorus singing, but she also cut the audience off for the high notes, jokingly gesturing these ones are for me! Annie missed a few chords towards the end of the song, and joked afterwards saying I may be a crap piano player, but the voice isn’t bad!
Annie then announced it was time for her to go after the next song, and when the audience started booing she joked we’ve had our money’s worth for one night! Annie then said how much she’d enjoyed the audience singing, and started a rousing version of Stand By Me with brilliant audience participation in the chorus.
Annie left the stage to a huge applause, Edith Bowman came back on stage and was saying how much she was in awe of Annie, and to see if we could get her back on stage. Annie re-appeared and for her final song performed Sweet Dreams. She apologised again midway through the song if it sounded a bit too Cuban, but everyone loved it.
As I mentioned earlier, Annie really seemed to enjoy the concert this evening, she was playful, emotional, compassionate nad conveyed her very simple message about getting involved through her choice of songs. An amazing night for everyone who was there.
Final Set List
Many Rivers To Cross
No More I Love You’s
There Must Be An Angel
Stand By Me
Voicestorm Flyer & Tickets
Here’s the whole gallery of photos, with thanks to Jo for the shots of Annie at the piano! My camera didn’t perform as well as it should, so i havent posted too many.
Here are some amazing tweets from the evening, not a single negative one about Annie’s performance!
Annie Lennox is legendary! Can’t say the same for Ting Tings acoustic set, what’s that all about.
Just watched Annie Lennox perform at Roundhouse. Wow, her voice is something otherwordly! Fab concert well done Body & Soul.
Annie Lennox was sensational! Truly inspirational woman – and freakishly talented! I salute everyone at @bodysoulcharity
Massive Thank You to all @bodysoulcharity VoiceStorm was amazing. Had a fantastic night. Annie Lennox is an absolute legend. Night All x x
Annie Lennox was sensational this evening!
annie lennox just made my hair stand up on my arms. Legend.
Cried all through Annie Lennox’s set. How awesome is she?! Surprise guest as well as Ting Tings apparently. Hope it’s Cyndi or GaGa!
Annie Lennox is immense! Fact!
Very much a renewed love affair with Annie lennox xx