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Hard to believe that it’s been 10 years since Alicia Keys entered the soul scene with her first album, SONGS IN A MINOR. Since that time she has released a further three albums, had lots of Grammy success and other awards, as well as number ones and top ten hits. Tonight, in celebration of those 10 years, we have a stage with a piano surrounded by tall candelabras. Tonight it is all about that voice, the piano and the songs we know and love.

Alicia Keys is escorted to the stage and takes her place at the piano to rapturous applause. Alicia, as usual, looks stunning. She composes herself at the piano and calmly starts with a classical intro to the evening. This takes us to her first vocal track of the evening with “Blackbird” by the Beatles. Alicia then gave us a flavour of her New York upbringing and influences with snippets of Mary J Blige and others. Alicia then reminds us why SONGS IN A MINOR is one of the best albums of the last 10 years and sings almost every song off that album. The standouts, for me, of this section were “Never Felt This Way” which was followed by “Butterflies”, “How Come You Don’t Call Me”, “Troubles” and of course “Fallin’”. The audience were used for some finger clicking and backing vocals on “A Woman’s Worth” and “Caged Bird”; it was touching.

The stage set is simple. Alicia remains on the stage for the whole period, engaging with her audience and, aside from her voice which is amazing, shows us that she is an exceptional classically trained pianist! Alicia is clearly done with her SONGS IN A MINOR but still wants to sing and give us a selection of songs off her other albums. This is an extra treat which includes “You Don’t Know My Name”, “Diary”, “Karma” and “Wake Up”. Songs such as “If I Ain’t Got You”, “Superwoman” and “Like You’ll Never See Me Again” are highlights. The latter, which in its stripped form is better live without the syrupy production of the album version, becomes moving. All the highlights are given a complete reading with added piano solo. The audience wants more and we are given encores with “New York State Of Mind” which segues into “Empire State Of Mind” and she finishes on “No One”.

So this was a concert of two halves with the first half devoted to SONGS IN A MINOR and the second to other highlights from her 10 years of recordings. Alicia is hugely talented and has been blessed with that crossover pop chart success, through crafting the kind of songs that we find in our heads when we wake in the morning. The very humble Alicia Keys made the Royal Albert Hall intimate and we were truly treated to hearing those songs in the way they were conceived.

Happy 10th Anniversary Alicia! Many Happy Returns xx

About the Writer
Terry Joe is a London-based has led bands as a vocalist, releasing cds and regularly performing. His favourite artists include Anita Baker, Jill Scott, Al Green, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, Ledisi, Nathan Haines, Me'shell NdegeOcello and many more.

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Alicia Keys 2009 CD Review
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