It’s been a long couple of years – for me as much as anyone else. At home with nothing much to keep me company but family and a never-ending pile of work, I have spent the last two years listening to more music than I perhaps ever have in my life. As a result, without even realising, I have grown far too accustomed to the faint sensation of music as it pulses through my headphones, satisfied with this solitary experience which has remained the main way way for me to consume my favourite songs. However, back in person and physically present at Jacob Collier’s concert, I realised with joy that an entire world of live music, peopled with talented artists and an enthusiastic audience, might just be the most sensational experience of them all.

“I personally fell in love with her low, velvety tone”

This revelation first dawned on me as the opening act, Emily Elbert, took to stage armed with nothing but a standing mic and her electric guitar. I, as well as the rest of the audience, observed her with a humming curiosity at first, but Elbert’s mellow, soothing voice accompanied by her trilling guitar was truly captivating. I personally fell in love with her low, velvety tone even as she spoke, confessing that this performance was her first in a very long time. At that moment, I felt a little connected to Elbert – both of us seemed to be returning to live music, after years of cancellations, albeit from either side of the stage.

Emily Elbert performs an acoustic version of “Not Alone” with Jacob CollierYOUTUBE/EMILY ELBERT

Although it was a little difficult to hear the titles of the six songs as Elbert introduced them, I later found through her Spotify page that one of them – the one I was personally most drawn to – was her latest single, “Not Alone”. I highly encourage everyone to listen to this piece. To try and describe it in words, the song feels like a summer breeze or maybe a cool break in the shade during this hot season.

After an admittedly long wait, Jacob Collier finally appeared. It would be wrong to say that he merely took to the stage. No. Rather, he jumped, galloped, leaped across the platform in a slightly mad fashion that took me completely by surprise (and was very amusing to observe). Matching Collier’s explosive energy, the concert suddenly burst into life as the opening song reverberated across the venue. A thumping sensation quivered in my chest as the music vibrated throughout my body – a sensation I had completely forgotten I could even feel over these past years.

When Collier and his band then played “Feel”, a song originally featuring Lianne La Havas off the second volume of his expansive Djesse project, I felt ecstatic. Perhaps it was because I love this song or maybe I was high from Collier’s infectious energy, but I was particularly enthralled by this performance. The harmony between Collier’s baritone and the beautiful falsetto of Alita Moses, his accompanying vocalist (who would consistently shine throughout the night) gave me goosebumps. I was also fascinated that, after an energetic opener, Collier could perform with such strong vocals. It was truly impressive.

“Collier reminded me once again of what I had missed”

Although Collier consistently gave unbelievably amazing performances, both with and without his band – from an epic drum solo to an acoustic version of “The Sun is in Your Eyes” – the rest of the audience only really became active during the concert’s second half where Collier performed songs from Djesse Vol. 3. The funky “All I Need” particularly seemed to ignite the crowd’s dancing spirit as they quickly roared with joy when the iconic melodic pattern first played. This was definitely another one of my favourite moments, brought to an amazing height with a solo from the band’s incredibly talented keyboardist and Collier’s involvement of the audience’s voice. The choral sound of the crowd conducted by Collier’s seemingly magic hands elevated this live version of the song and my personal experience to a whole new level. I felt elated as Collier reminded me once again of what I had missed these past years without live music.


Mountain View

Strawberry Fair 2022: A celebration of all things Cambridge

But it wasn’t just Collier’s music that made the night. I cannot leave out the jaw-dropping lighting that adorned the stage. Coordinated with some of the instruments, these bright decorations created a mesmerising picture that left me speechless at several points throughout the night. Towards the end of the event, Collier made mention of each of his band members, including previously mentioned singer Alita Moses and Emily Elbert who opened the concert. It was wonderful to witness his genuine closeness with each of these individuals whose talent did not go unmissed. Jacob Collier’s Cambridge gig was certainly a night I’ll remember for a long time: the night when I fell in love with live music all over again.