Is It Any Wonder
Where are you now (cut off after first verse)
Last Dance (To Sad Eyes) (feat. Astrid Williamson)
Something (feat. Astrid Williamson)
Directionless (feat. Astrid Williamson)
Ship in the sand
It was the tenth time I saw Sophia (in various line ups) and I must say this was one of the more memorable evenings. Well, they've all been memorable for different reasons (like every Sophia concert is!). But the atmosphere, the build up to it with all the stress if I would ever get time off work and even get in, .... made it a really enjoyable evening.
The setlist was nicely picked. Songs from every album, except from People are like seasons. And it's been a while since I saw a Robin solo with his guitar gig so to hear them in those versions was great again.
Is it any wonder still had some difficulties with the guitar playing and the people in the café were still pretty loud in the back at the bar. But right from the second song on, Lost, till the last one the show had a very good vibe. Robin's guitar playing was very good as usual and the songs were really heartfelt.
After Lost, we got a trio of new songs with Heartache, Obvious (which could be a great pop single) and Signs. The fact that it was just Robin and his guitar made these songs really sound like old Sophia. I didn't even realise that some of these songs I've only been listening to for 5 days or so. They sounded as if I'd been singing along to them for years.
Then we got Where are you now ? Well, technically we only got one verse of it cause Robin said he was psyched and couldn't sing further on because the person who was the inspiration for the song was only a couple of meters away. So he went on to do two duets with her (Astrid Williamson). The first was Last dance to sad eyes. Which on the cd hadn' really convinced me. At least not the first couple of times. I did like the lyrics of the song already. But this live version with Astrid was just amazing. Best new song or even best song of the evening. It didn't have to be much that Astrid sung but just the fact that you had a second voice made those songs sound even more alive and sincere. Same thing goes for Something which is just a wonderful song. Words can not really explain how beautiful that song is.
And if that was not enough, Robin decided to end the set with Directionless, my all time favourite Sophia song. A song he introduced as that it's so old that it's almost new. Meaning that it still feels all the same. A point in which I agree completely.
As an unprepared encore we got the beautiful Ship in the sand (which should be recorded as some sort of hidden track on a next cd or something !). Although Robin said he would probably fuck up, the song sounded as if he had been practicing it all afternoon. Really beautiful end.
Un public trop dissipé…
Ce mardi, à 20 heures, le label Bang ! avait organisé un showcase au Café Central. A l’affiche, Sophia, venu présenter son tout nouvel opus, « There Are No Goodbyes », trois ans après la sortie de « Technology Won’t Save Us ». Un disque que je vous recommande tout particulièrement et qui était paru officiellement la veille…
Quoique trié sur le volet, le public ne semble guère attentif. Bien trop bruyant, il ne permet pas d’écouter le set dans des conditions idéales. Seul à la guitare acoustique, Robin Proper-Sheppard ouvre les hostilités par « Is It Any Wonder », une plage extraite de son premier elpee. Petite surprise pour l’auditoire, puisqu’il venait d’annoncer qu’il ne jouerait que des titres issus de son nouvel opus! Le Californien attaque ensuite quelques belles versions, dépouillées et toujours aussi sombres, de « There Are No Goodbyes », le dernier elpee. Il est ensuite rejoint par Astrid Williamson, aux vocaux, pour ce qui va s’avérer le point culminant de ce bref spectacle.
Tout au long de la soirée Robin Proper-Sheppard est paru très détendu. Et, manifestement, il est fier de son nouvel opus. Ce qui ne lui arrive pas souvent. Mais on peut lui donner raison, tant les compositions issues de ce disque, quoique toujours aussi sombres, sont littéralement portées par une instrumentation aussi subtile que luxuriante. Bref, manifestement, il vient à nouveau de commettre un album d’excellente facture.
Bien sûr, les spectateurs attentifs ce soir sont en droit de regretter les mauvaises conditions dans lesquelles s’est déroulé le showcase ; mais on se consolera le 23 mai prochain, puisque Sophia se produira à l’Ancienne Belgique, dans le cadre d’une tournée qui passera également par l’Atelier à Luxembourg le 20 du même mois, et le lendemain au Café De La Danse, à Paris.
Photos by Astrid Baudine