On Saturday 20th of October Tom Walker stopped by the Lemon Grove on our beloved campus to perform for us, before moving on to bigger British cities and his European Tour. I had the chance to interview him on the day of the concert which gave me the opportunity to compare the person with the performer, and I am glad to say that I did not notice any difference. The artist was just as humble and honest on stage as he had been while answering my questions.
The concert started with two singers performing a few of their original songs each. Sody was the first to appear and her pop style with her mix of electronic and live instruments was the perfect start to a promising night. Next, it was Maisie Peters and her more folkish songs. A very charismatic presence, she told us amusing stories on what had inspired her songs and talked to us as casually as she would have to a friend. I must admit that I have been playing her new song, “In My Head”. on a loop ever since I heard it live. These two singer-songwriters are definitely worth checking out if they are not already on your playlists.
Finally, Tom Walker walked up playing on his guitar, accompanied by his band, an instrumental version of the chorus of “Fly Away with Me”. The instruments were amplified in such a way that created a rough and raw rhythm, until it transformed into the familiar beginning of the song to which the crowd rushed to cheer and started singing along from the first word.
Right away, Tom showed us that he belonged up there, that the stage was his for the night, and that he absolutely wanted to be there. Every now and then, when he would stop singing for a bit, he would close his eyes, transported by his own performance with his guitars, and he would smile so genuinely that we could not help but do the same.
Tom showed us that the stage was his for the night and that he absolutely wanted to be there
He mixed songs we all knew with new songs that have not come out yet, such as “Walk Alone”, which appears on his debut album, What a Time to Be Alive, coming out March 2019. He revealed that this is one of the things he loves most about live shows: the opportunity to play new music to people who have yet to hear it. He also did not hesitate to share with us some quirky anecdotes on what his songs are about and his sources of inspiration. His closeness with the audience contributed to an easygoing and familiar atmosphere which made him even more enjoyable to listen to.
Despite the band accompanying all the songs, and the brightly coloured strobe lights moving around, Tom Walker remained relaxed throughout, drinking his glass of wine brought on stage by his manager Dave, and performing with passion.
At what we though was the end, we all requested “one last song” and thankfully we got two. The very last one was “Leave a Light On”, his most famous one, which he dedicated to his friend Andrew ‘who is no longer with us’, Tom confessed. He performed it with such emotion that I’m sure more than one person in the crowd must have shed a tear. Everybody sang along as loud as they could in unison, creating a moment of support and unity in this intimate and exhilarating performance.
I’m sure more than one person in the crowd must have shed a tear
Overall, the night was clearly a success for Tom Walker but also for the two artists who performed before him, with a receptive audience and a comfortable informality all along. This only made it easier to focus on the passion and emotions brought up to the beat of meaningful music that we all wanted to experience and enjoy. I am certainly looking forward to listening to all of his new songs in March and I definitely recommend seeing him perform as it gives you an insight on who Tom Walker is as a person and as a true artist. I could see how happy music makes him and it was simply beautiful to witness.