2003 – Let It Rain Tour – March 11, London, Royal Albert Hall


Set 1:
01. In The Dark
02. Across The Lines
03. Say Hallelujah
04. Baby Can I Hold You
05. Over In Love
06. Crossroads
07. Another Sun
08. Behind The Wall
09. The Promise / Save A Place For Me
10. Let It Rain
11. Fast Car
12. You’re The One
13. She’s Got Her Ticket
14. Telling Stories
15. Give Me One Reason
16. House Of The Rising Sun
17. Talkin’Bout A Revolution

Encore 1:
18. Get Up Stand Up
19. Knockin’ On Heavens Door


  • Tracy Chapman – By: David Sinclair, The Times, March 13, 2003
[singlepic=693,305,130,left] IT’S not often that Tracy Chapman comes here. Indeed, Tuesday night’s show at the Albert Hall was part of her first British tour, which may partly explain the ecstatic ovation she got at the end of a performance of stark, minimalist splendour.
Having enjoyed instant success at the start of her career — her debut album has sold ten million copies since it was released in 1988 — Chapman has had to adjust to a cult status more in keeping with the folk provenance of her music. Her Anthology album of 2001 — a repackaging of earlier material — may have achieved platinum sales, but her latest CD of new material, Let It Rain, has not fared so well. That is a pity since it is one of her best collections yet, a point which she underlined with cool authority at this concert.

A few days short of her 39th birthday, Chapman looked unchanged as she took her place on stage along with a six-piece backing band. Wearing jeans and a tight black top, she cradled a guitar that looked like a toy in her large hands. With her free-flowing locks framing her broad face, she pushed off with the mournful, neo-gospel chant In the Dark, a new song with a deep, spiritual quality.

Her band, which featured guitarist Joe Gore (of Tom Waits and P. J. Harvey fame), proved to be a deft and versatile unit, sketching in subtle vocal harmonies and street-corner percussion textures on Say Hallelujah and the sublime love song You’re the One, while taking a more muscular, plugged-in approach to later numbers such as Telling Stories and Give Me One Reason.

But it was Chapman’s voice — low and vulnerable, yet as strong as iron — that supplied the magical ingredient. Even when reprising her most famous hit, Fast Car, or reviving House of the Rising Sun, she did so with an emotional punch that made these songs sound as if she, and we, had only just discovered them.

Like every other American performer I have seen in recent weeks, she issued a vigorous denunciation of her country’s policy towards Iraq, although Let It Rain seemed an oddly fatalistic choice of song to dedicate to supporters of the anti-war movement.

Her encores of Bob Marley’s Get Up, Stand Up and Dylan’s Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door scored no points for originality, but seemed to fit the mood of the moment rather better. Tracy Chapman Albert Hall.

Submitted by: Amoghavajra

  • Tracy Chapman – Royal Albert Hall, London – By: Betty Clarke, The Guardian, Thursday March 13, 2003

Just when Tracy Chapman had given up carrying society’s ills on her shoulders and turned inwards for inspiration, the world has discovered a political conscience. Holding her guitar in a firm embrace, she watches the audience sing the words of Talkin’ About a Revolution, a wry smile on her face. Not many artists could turn a potential war into a good career move – and remain morally intact.
After all, Chapman got there first. Her debut album, released in 1988, became a must-have for anyone who considered themselves liberal and cool: it was a stripped-down, bruisingly honest collection of songs in a synthetic and decadent decade.

She has never quite escaped the good-girl label. Six albums on, it is still the optimism and delicacy of Fast Car that everyone remembers. But, though her light touch and eternal hope remain, Chapman now applies them to more intimate concerns. Her latest album, Let It Rain, explores her personal insecurities using gorgeous melodies and bluesy rhythms.

When she appears, it is a surprise to see her long braids and maturity, such is the continuing power of her previous incarnation. But as she sings In the Dark, the voice is unmistakable, as pure and clear as ever.

Moving gently against her guitar, she returns Baby Can I Hold You to the fragile plea it was before Ronan Keating got his mucky hands on it, and, low-voiced, describes the colour draining from her world in Over in Love.

Covering other people’s songs gives Chapman freedom. She enjoys being bad for a version of House of the Rising Son, the mood turning slightly seedy. But it is the reggae groove of Bob Marley’s Get Up Stand Up that gives her a chance to swing her hips and challenge apathy, though she raises her eyebrows at the mention of getting high.

· At the Apollo, Manchester (0161-242 2560), on Saturday, the Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow (0870 040 4000), on Monday, then touring.

Submitted by: Amoghavajra

  • Flashes of inspiration – By: Lynsey Hanley, The Telegraph, Thursday March 13, 2003

Lynsey Hanley reviews Tracy Chapman at the Albert Hall

Five minutes before Tracy Chapman arrived on stage, we were warned in no uncertain terms that flash photography, “at the express request of the artist”, was forbidden during the show.

Yet the second she strolled into the spotlight, cowering under two-foot-long dreadlocks, muscular in a tight black shirt and looking a decade younger than her 39 years, the Albert Hall erupted in a frenzy of battery-enhanced snapping. Her fans just couldn’t help themselves.

It seems strange that this self-effacing, deeply earnest singer-songwriter, who unwittingly stole the show at Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday concert in 1988 and whose career has been, if not quite explosive, then ticking over nicely ever since, should attract such adulation. Accompanying every magnesium-white flash was a chorus of 5,000 whoops, wails and we-love-you-Tracys, and that was before she’d reached centre stage.

As Chapman eased into In the Dark, a track from her latest album, Let It Rain, such incongruous hysteria subsided, the audience calmed and compelled by the strange tremulous power of her voice.

A five-strong backing band teased out a spare drum thud here, a jagged guitar riff there, only brief taps of a tambourine embellishing this otherwise austere sound. Its plaintive simplicity set a high standard for the rest of the night.

If they had come for Fast Car and Talkin’ Bout a Revolution, the crowd hid their impatience fairly well, but there was a clear slump in their attention after four or five songs and the concert didn’t seem to recover until near the encore.

It’s widely acknowledged that Chapman’s current album, her fifth, is her best since her eponymous debut, benefiting from the sparse production of PJ Harvey collaborator John Parish, and it was tracks from these two records that stood out the most.

You’re the One, a gooey new love song in stark contrast to the deadly serious political lyrics that made her name, got them on their feet and screaming again. Once Chapman had reconnected with her audience, all she had to do was reel them in for the encore, which she did in defiant style with a punchy cover of Bob Marley’s Get Up, Stand Up.

If only she hadn’t allowed them to drift off in the first place. Perhaps it was the flashes.

  • Chapman’s voice rings true – By Paul Clark, Evening Standard 12.03.03

GIG REVIEW: Tracy Chapman at the Albert Hall

Ever since her breathtakingly powerful eponymous debut, Tracy Chapman has worn her ideological colours like a politician wears a rosette. Even though the ensuing five albums have traded social concerns for more personal anxieties, she remains an outstanding humanitarian.

It was hardly surprising then to find the Albert Hall awash with woolly liberals keen to worship at her temple of integrity. Most annoying among these were a row of pilates-practising, tantric sex-loving (I’m guessing) women who insisted on standing and swaying like trees in the wind at any given opportunity.

Chapman remained unflapped by their tragic drama workshop choreography. She was here to support new album Let It Rain and the jolting double-clap rhythm of spiritual folk number Say Hallelujah was the first taste of it. Guitarist Joe Gore jerked awkwardly like a man suffering mild electric shocks while backing vocalist Cat Adams did her best to look like Fame

Academy’s Carrie Grant. The title track Let It Rain came with a cryptic introduction from Chapman. “Sometimes things come into our lives and we have to be prepared to handle them,” she explained vaguely. “The current situation in the world is one of those difficult times.”

She would return to the theme of war and peace in her encore via Bob Marley’s call to arms Get Up, Stand Up. However, her older material carried real potency. The overt anti-materialism of Crossroads and the polemical Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution were loaded with real lyrical weight against sparing arrangements. For Behind The Wall, a song about domestic violence, she stood alone and sang a capella. Her voice, which rarely seems to waver, rang consistently true.

In these times of economic migration, the escapist Fast Car and the reggae-inflected She’s Got Her Ticket seemed more relevant than ever. Her poignant ballads were delicately treated by her band with the plaintive beauty of The Promise and Baby Can I Hold You shining through.

The music world may be overloaded with confessional singer-songwriters but last night Chapman once again proved herself a beacon of honesty and dignity in a world of megalomaniacs.

VENUE: Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, LONDON, SW7 2AP – United Kingdom
PROMOTER: Clear Channel

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