14:20 15 March 2004
UEA LCR, Norwich
With a debut album just starting its sixth week at number one, Katie Melua has two lots of people to thank: the Wombles and Woolworths.
The influence of both was in evidence at Saturday's sell-out gig.
Following a support set by Irish David Gray-a-like Paddy Casey, the young singer was introduced by Mike Batt, aka Orinoco. The man behind the original urban eco-terrorists wrote and produced the bulk of the impressive Call Off The Search, and backed her on stage too.
The audience was packed with people hooked by the chorus of Closest Thing to Crazy, endlessly paraded on Woolies' TV ads. This was not one for the musical die-hards, and pulled in a refreshingly mixed crowd.
From the opening Eva Cassidy-inspired Faraway Voice, Melua's own vocals soared up to the heavens and stayed there with textbook precision. But with a set-list dominated by her album that was the problem: a performance so polished that there was little of the frisson live music should provide.
There were risks in the covers of Lovecats and I Put A Spell On You, and they paid off more in the latter, but surely that is the point of a gig?