Trinity bubbles with anticipation. Jacob Collier is a musical prodigy. Playing more instruments than should be legal, the work that began with YouTube covers is now spilling into the real world.
We’re met with an ecstatic Jacob. Raging onto the stage, he starts a call and response. After toying with us, his band punch into With The Love In My Heart. A raucous and bombastic affair, it sounds like Jacob’s put his internal iPod on shuffle, perfectly mixing and traversing jazz, hip hop, blues and funk. He darts about the stage, changing instrument at a furious pace – drum solo, bass solo, piano break down, vocoder-solo; we’re witnessing a harmonic monster just smashing around. Then, just as quickly as it started, the song finishes on an acoustic guitar with minimal accompaniment.
drum solo, bass solo, piano break down, vocoder-solo; we’re witnessing a harmonic monster just smashing around
At this point he has us all transfixed. How can this be the same human being as a few moments ago? Then we realise – he’s a master.
The YouTube videos didn’t prepare us at all. A master of dynamics, we’ve gone from the crest of a tsunami to the gentle breaking of waves on the shore. Moving into Hideaway, Collier introduces his band. Maro, an incredible artist in her own right, harmonises with Collier in a way that’s angelic and complete. Collier goes on to introduce his hand picked supporting artists – Robin Malarkey, Christian Newman and Maro. They support him and fill the gaps when he needs them, but also leave Jacob the space to do his thing. Don’t You Know is a masterclass in versatility. We go from huge soundscapes to heart breaking piano solos in just a few seconds.
It feels effortless for him, it feels natural and pure. This could so easily be a cringeworthy show of arrogant ability but it’s not. It’s joyful and honest. This is as good as it gets. Really.
This could easily be a cringeworthy show of arrogant ability but it’s not
We move into the song Djesse, where Collier introduces his four album narrative. The story of a child that’s pure and creative, without the restrictions of adult stress. Suddenly, it all makes sense. The show is Collier, a completely unrestricted musician. He’s playing with, teasing and smashing the rules. We move into Ocean Wide, Canyon Deep, a soft heartfelt piano tune that plays all our heartstrings.
Carpenters’ Close To You was a genre-bending rendition, harking back to Collier’s YouTube days. Pushing boundaries musically, but keeping in line just enough to recognise the song.
The concert has become experiential now, we’re witnessing the rollercoaster. Hajanga is joyous and touching. Collier can do big and bold, but with complete control move back into soft and slow. With Maro in toe, Collier slides into a beautiful Fields of Gold. It’s perfect. He’s done it.
The concert has become experiential now, we’re witnessing the rollercoaster
The encore comes, of course it does. We all need it. He can’t possibly leave it there. We’re all told to sit down for a slow and stunning acoustic singalong of Brian Wilson’s In My Room. Quiet perfection. Then into just Collier for an Imogen Heap-style vocoder version of Lean On Me.
For his final trick, Collier puts down his instruments and plays the audience
For his final trick, Collier puts down his instruments and plays the audience. Calling and responding, we become the marching and clapping percussion synth. The audience are one. Orchestrated tightly, we simmer to a beautiful finish with choruses from Blackbird.
This isn’t just a concert, it’s an experience. It’s what everyone else is trying to do. Jacob just does it so easily, he’s a terrifyingly powerful musician. We’re all left speechless. 5/5.