Concert Review: Sam Smith and George Ezra @ Air Canada Centre – Toronto

SAM SMITH
The Sam Smith concert was kind of something that I got roped into. My fifteen-year-old sister loves him and was dying to go, so I told her I would gladly take her – I’m not one to turn down the chance to go to a show, no matter what artist it is. In the weeks leading up to the gig, she played me a few songs and educated me a little about Sam himself, just to make sure I wasn’t going in blind.

The show kicked off with a half-hour set from George Ezra, a lovely, deep-voiced Brit whose throaty vocals and beautiful songs definitely captivated the audience. Although his debut album “Wanted on Voyage” doesn’t get an official North American release until January 27th, the crowd sang along to the well-known hit “Budapest” as soon as he began to play it. His performance was beautifully executed, with small changes made to the songs and short anecdotes told between each track.

Then came what everyone was waiting for – the one and only Sam Smith. The man came onstage incredibly gracefully, and he instantly captured the heart of every person in the audience. He opened with “Life Support,” and of course, the entire crowd went absolutely crazy. For many of them, this was the very moment they had been waiting on for so long. As soon as he opened his mouth and his smooth, dreamy voice filled the room, I understood just a little bit more what the hype was about – Sam Smith has serious talent, and it’s not created by auto tune and production.

Sam took time between each bunch of songs in order to explain the meaning behind the album and how he felt while writing certain lyrics. He even dove into extremely personal territory when he admitted that he had deleted his boyfriend’s number off his phone that morning – this was said before he performed “Good Thing,” a track which clearly summed up his feelings regarding the day’s events. Intimacy is a hard thing to achieve at an arena show, however his willingness to open up and connect with the crowd certainly made it seem effortless.

Of course he sang his well-known hit “I’m Not the Only One,” as well as the beautiful ballads “Leave Your Lover” and “Lay Me Down.” The vast majority of his songs are slow and extremely personal; however this certainly didn’t bore the crowd. He threw in a couple more upbeat tracks that brought the audience to its feet, and he even taught us a simple back-and-forth, side-stepping dance move to go along with “Like I Can.” It was all incredibly endearing.

The first part of the set closed with the catchy, sing-along worthy tune – and my personal favourite – “Money on My Mind.” He thanked the crowd and went backstage for a few moments before returning for a three-song encore. It began with an acoustic version of “Latch,” his duet with Disclosure, before transitioning into “Make It To Me.” It should come as no surprise that he ended his performance with his well-known single “Stay With Me” – a special moment for the entire crowd, as everyone sang along at the top of their lungs and shone their phone flashlights into the air. It certainly made for many Instagram-worthy photos.

Sam exited the stage and left most audience members with the fulfilling sensation that usually accompanies the closing of a concert. He had sung his heart out and performed with such confidence that not a soul was left unhappy. It was certainly a show that will not be forgotten by anyone lucky enough to attend.

Review by Hannah Champion | @hannahisrad_

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