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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 14, 2018 - Volume 46 Issue 37
Sam Smith concert a dazzling thrill ride
Arts & Entertainment
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Sam Smith concert a dazzling thrill ride

by Paul Torres - SGN Contributing Writer

SAM SMITH
THE THRILL OF IT ALL TOUR
KEY ARENA
September 8


Sam Smith thrilled a Key Arena audience on Saturday September 8. He promised a lot of fun and that everyone would leave his show in a better mood, although he hilariously admitted his music is a bit depressing. He's not only self-effacing, he is charming, too. He is out supporting his second album The Thrill of It All released in 2017.

The mood was set with quotes on the large screens above the stage that included writers Michael Cunningham, Mfaniso Udofia and Canadian poet Rupi Kaur with her following inscription: but what is stronger/than the human heart/that shatters over and over/and lives. Kaur's exquisite quote not only describes Smith's current well-noted private life, but the emotions of his music. However, this despair becomes his muse and for this night he let it ride. The night belonged to Smith and his adoring fans.

The stretched-out pyramid shaped stage opened in the middle and Smith rose up and the opening notes of 'Burning' sparkled out. The English crooner was absolutely beaming with assistance from the excellent lighting. The stage was enhanced by mystical billows of smoke that changed colors with the rhythms and beats of Smith's soul-yearning tunes like 'I'm Not the Only One' and 'I Sing Because I'm Happy.'

Smith's expressive genderfluid vocal delivery is amazing live especially with his rousing renditions of 'I've Told You Now' and 'Baby, You Make Me Crazy.' The powerful build-up of 'Lay Me Down' had fans in tears. His vocals flowed beautifully and left the audience enraptured. It's pure sexy, fan-screaming pop music. This music transcends genders.

At the highpoint of the show, Smith talked about acceptance and declared himself 'a proud gay man' and performed 'HIM' as rainbow colors lit the smoke at the end of the stage. His proud queer stance is exhilarating to see from a renowned international musical star like Sam Smith. 'Love is love,' he exclaimed. The diverse audience was awestruck. Even a security guard commented on how charming and cute he is.

Hits covered included 'Latch,' 'Money on My Mind,' 'Too Good at Goodbyes,' the Grammy winning 'Stay with Me,' and the Academy Award winning 'Writing's on the Wall' from James Bond 007: Spectre. The big songs never fail to bring down the house. The audience knew every word as was evident from the cheerful fans singing all around me who, at times, drowned out the singer himself.

Smith's rip-torn-from-the-heart-and-worn-on-his-sleeve lyrics were a celebration of the dynamic contrasts of human emotions that run the gamut that are especially felt in these turbulent days here in the United States. This was especially true with 'Palace' which was sung atop a golden spiral staircase. The audience came to weep, cheer, sing along, and to have a good time before heading home. His energetic and stylish band and back-up singers revved it up and added panache to the show. If music can do this, as it should, then Smith's mission was firmly accomplished.

From sad heartbreaks to excited heartbeats, Smith's golden voice offered wave after wave of sheer joy. Even the arena's echo acoustics couldn't hamper this knockout of a concert. He made sure to cover every corner of the pyramid-shaped stage to wave 'hello' to his fans. Sam Smith's show was unforgettable from lights up to lights down. His charisma and amazing vocals stirred the audience and made the night fun and made for a stellar show.

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