March 25 Perhaps it’s because she’s mindful that her latest album Metals is a more artful beast than any of its predecessors that Leslie Feist is so gently insistent on getting people to be a part of the songs rather than simply listen to them. In tonight’s two-hour show, the audience is led through a series of singalongs – some more awkward than others. For ‘So Sorry’, we’re divided by nationality into a four-note backing chorus; for ‘Sealion’, The Reminder‘s quirky riff on Nina Simone’s adaptation of a traditional American folk song, we happily chime in the with the “sealion” chant only for Feist to suddenly quip in a cheerful singsong manner, ”Don’t you think it’s kinda weird we’re all singing the word ‘sealion’ together?” It’s definitely kinda weird, especially under the spectacular dome of the Royal Albert Hall, but kinda wonderful too.
In the end, it doesn’t matter that Metals is shy of a chorus or two. The most memorable tracks (‘Graveyard’, ‘How Come You Never Go There’, ‘The Bad In Each Other’) are as enduring as anything she’s done before, while the gorgeous ‘Get It Wrong, Get It Right’ and ‘Cicadas & Gulls’ benefit enormously from the addition of vocal trio Mountain Man on backing vocals and percussion – the latter is performed almost a cappella with barely-there acoustic guitar, the four women huddled together around a single microphone.
It’s a crowded stage, but the encore performance of ‘Let It Die’ – which has now become a standard for the tour – makes it even more so as Feist invites people who are “feeling romantic” to come on stage and slow dance around her. They trickle at first, then swarm until the stage is full of people swaying to what is really quite a painful song about love slipping away. It’s totally incongruous, but warms the heart all the same to see straight couples, gay couples and friends of all ages indulging in a mass public display of affection. ”My manager’s going to kill me,” Feist sings wryly as the crowd accumulates around her, as if the whole thing wasn’t planned from the start.
Undiscovered First / A Commotion / Graveyard / How Come You Never Go There / Mushaboom / The Circle Married The Line / Anti-Pioneer / Pine Moon / So Sorry / My Moon My Man / The Bad In Each Other / Bittersweet Melodies / Cicadas & Gulls / I Feel It All / Caught A Long Wind / Get It Wrong, Get It Right / Sometimes Always (Jesus & Mary Chain cover with M Ward) / Sealion / Let It Die / The Limit To Your Love / Intuition
Photographed by Wunmi Onibudo