Emeli Sande – review of last night’s gig at the SSE Hydro

Last night I was lucky enough to be part of the sensational show at the SSE Hydro. I can’t quite bring myself to say ‘gig’ as Ms Emeli Sande is too much of a classy lady to put on a ‘gig’. Her performance was ecstatic. Commanding the stage dressed all in black – black leggings, boots and a smock-style cape contrasting all the band members and backing singers wearing evangelical white – it truly was a gospel church-style experience minus the frantic hand shaking and there were no ‘hallelujahs’ or ‘praise the lord’s’ to be heard.

Just the most uplifting, heavenly feeling in Sande’s lyrics that everything will be allright and we shall all share the love, be confident, spread that confidence and speak up about good things in the world! It’s a great message and with the bombardment of negativity surrounding us it’s great to be part of a safe haven where some great (that’s right – all is ‘great’, my friends) music transforms any negativity for one night – maybe it’s a rolling stone that should gather some moss until it’s a giant boulder of hope? See, I’m caught up in the love and I’m not normally a believer!

‘Oh this is us, this is love and this is where I’ll sleep.’ She belted out ‘Where I Sleep’, from the 2012 album Our Version of Events, with such candour that I feel we’re caught up in her ‘moment’ again.


Ms Sande recalled to the cheering fans that the last time she performed in Glasgow was Oran Mor – an amazingly intimate space so surely it would be impossible to reconnect with everyone in such a vast venue this time round…and yet, a miracle of sorts happened last night.

Sande left the stage and moved to the middle of the venue where some ivory keys flashed from a piano waiting to be tinkered by an artist familiar with it’s hypnotic power. The lights dipped down and a candle effect formed on thousands of eager fans which magically sucked in all the space and created an intimate room where a stronger connection was felt by all watching.

‘Use your own voice and never let anyone take it away from you.’ Ms Sande’s advice to her devoted fans reverberated round the auditorium as she recalled how Simon Cowell’s and other recording company’s had offered her a blank cheque to take her self-written song Clown off her. “I was offered a cheque for any amount so singers like Susan Boyle could take it but I wanted it for myself.

‘I want to feel good, I want to feel love,’ Emeli bellowed to everyone listening who were already hanging onto the clarity of each beautiful verse from My Kind of Love.

When she sang ‘My heart beats only for you’ it still feels like the private artist is singing about her much publicised divorce in 2013 from her childhood sweetheart.

One of the many highlights of the night – I think it’s fair to say if more than five songs are a highlight the whole night is one great triumph – is Breathing Underwater from the 2016 Long Live the Angels album – another tremendous gospel moment of v-shaped arms swaying.

Student Rag had the pleasure to feature Ms Sande in our first ever edition in 2009 when we attended the MOBOs in Glasgow – a time when Emeli became prominent after featuring on the track ‘Diamond Rings’ by the rapper Chipmunk. It was their first top 10 single on the UK Singles Chart but songrwriter Sande had already been writing for a whole host of chart singers by then from Cheryl Tweedy (Cole) to Leona Lewis and Susan Boyle.

Back on the main stage, her rendition of Janis Joplin’s version of Piece of My Heart left us in know doubt we were on the soul train last night.

‘I wrote this song with my sister in the kitchen and hope it’s inspiring people to speak using their own words’ and singing ‘Read All About It’ which she sang at the 2012 Olympics in London, she pleaded with her fans ‘if you’ve ever knocked your confidence…. sing this as loud as you possibly can…we’re all wonderful people but we get so careful.’

Noone needed to be careful last night when we had you watching over us, Emeli. Think I’ve become a convert to the Church of Emeli Sande.

Emeli Sande’s new album Kingdom Coming is out November 3rd. Here’s Starlight:

review by Susie Daniels