Sam Smith At The Belasco Theatre
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By Ramon Alvarez-Smikle
British singer/songwriter Sam Smith is arguably one of the most impressive new voices to emerge this year, so naturally his first headlining show in Los Angeles since playing the Troubadour in 2013 was one to remember, marked by excellent vocals, powerful ballads and, surprisingly, a little bit of dancing.
As the sold-out crowd filtered into the Belasco Theatre on April 15, the fans were buzzing with anticipation. Just after 9 p.m., following a brief energetic instrumental introduction from his band, Smith jogged onstage, stylishly dressed in a blue blazer, blue pants and stylish blue velvet shoes. After greeting the crowd with a soft-spoken "hello Los Angeles," he began his hour-long set with "Nirvana," a track from his Nirvana E.P.
After continuing with the Nile Rodgers- and Disclosure-assisted track "Together," Smith confessed that he was amazed by the number of people who packed both the floor and balcony sections. He asked the crowd if they wanted to hear some new music from his upcoming debut album, In The Lonely Hour, to which they responded with wild cheers. The new songs he performed included the ballad "Leave Your Lover" and the more up-tempo "I'm Not The Only One," the latter of which had Smith showcasing his dance moves.
Smith launched into more crowd favorites, including the quite "I've Told You Now," the longing "Lay Me Down" and the danceable "Money On My Mind." He smiled as he delivered each note perfectly, interacting with the entire audience as he moved from one end of the stage to the other. Smith peppered in "Not In That Way," which peaked at No. 6 on the iTunes Songs chart. To his surprise, most of the audience already knew the words, which seemed to delight him.
Smith completed his set with the Naughty Boy Top 40 hit on which he's featured, "La La La." As he exited the stage, the crowd continued to scream and cheer for an encore. Happy to oblige, Smith reappeared and launched into an acoustic version of "Latch." Then, as a special surprise, Smith brought Disclosure's Howard Lawrence to the stage to perform their song "Make It To Me" for the very first time live. The set ended with a powerful performance of his latest single "Stay With Me."
It was a perfect ending to one of the best concerts I have seen so far this year, and a fantastic display of the power that a phenomenal voice and perfectly written songs still holds.
To catch Sam Smith in a city near you, click here for tour dates.
"Leave Your Lover"
"I'm Not The Only One"
"I've Told You Now"
"Like I Can"
"Not In That Way"
"Do I Wanna Know?" (Arctic Monkeys cover)
"Money On My Mind"
"Lay Me Down"
"La La La" (Naughty Boy)
"Make It To Me" (featuring Howard Lawrence of Disclosure)
"Stay With Me"
(Ramon Alvarez-Smikle recently relocated to Los Angeles from Chicago and is currently an intern at Dim Mak Records. He has been published on many online blogs and websites over the past year, including GRAMMY.com. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.)