As one of the incentives of buying the hotly anticipated new album from Imogen Heap “Sparks”, Heap placed a cut down downloadable video of her Royal Albert Hall performance – but you can also buy it separately if you’re not going all out for the special edition of the album. Despite not being the full concert, what is here is absolutely sublime.
Opening with a short interview snippet the recording is out-of-order and rearranged and contains about half the concert. That is my only criticism so I wanted to get that out the way. Starting with “Headlock” we are introduced to Imogen sampling strings, playing keyboards, jangling percussion and jumping from perch to perch as she sets off all kinds of instruments. She is truly a master at being able to trigger so many noises live all at once. An extended version of “Canvas” then follows which is beautifully reproduced in all its sweeping glory. There’s always little changes that make tracks feel different and whilst no early material makes it onto the video, “Let Go” from the Frou Frou album is full of energy, as is the b-movied “Swoon” and the rarity of “Speeding Cars”. “Between Sheets” was a surprising addition too but it has evolved into a different version from its album origins and now feels more complete with a proper ending. By half the standout transformation is “Tidal” which has evolved into the stadium thriller finale complete with keytar solo and rocking glasses!
The performance then ends quietly with “Hide and Seek” and a haunting version of “The Moment I Said It” which see’s Imogen and the piano stripped down to just the basics showing she can simply master it all. It’s a commanding performance and whilst I’d have preferred the full concert, this edited version still packs a mighty punch.