November 18, 2023
Alexandra Palace, London
In recent years, Jessie Ware has gone from strength to strength, planting herself firmly in dance floor territory and embracing her largely-queer fanbase, with her transformation into a fully realised disco diva seemingly complete as she commanded the stage at London’s Alexandra Palace for the second of two sold-out shows at the venue.
Bringing to an end a world tour in support of her fifth album, ‘That! Feels Good!’, the singer pulled out all the stops with a radiant performance, entering the stage as her fabulous alter ego, Mother Of Pearl, to the title song from that record, she breezed through a set largely composed of songs from her latest LP and 2020’s ‘What’s Your Pleasure?’.
Adorned in a bold red leotard overlaid with handkerchief-style, floor length fabrics, her charisma was matched by standout vocals sustained throughout the show, with the 10,000 screaming fans ramping the energy in the auditorium up to 11.
Her biggest headline show to date, over two nights Ware performed to as many fans as a sold-out O2 arena, and looking at the set list it’s not hard to see why; firing through hit singles such as Pearls, Spotlight and Ooh La La, along with album cuts including Shake The Bottle, Beautiful People and Lightning, it was a filler-free affair showcasing a catalogue of such quality most artists could only dream.
Looking back on Say You Love Me from ‘Tough Love’ (2014) and the ‘Glasshouse’ (2016) single Selfish Love proved to be rare reflective moment in the high-energy spectacle and although Ware proved her chops on more than one occasion with gousto to rival even the strongest vocalists, she wasn’t afraid to let loose and lose herself in the moment, delivering a tribute to the New York Ballroom Scene between Hot N Heavy and Freak Me Now and performing with a microphone doubled as a whip for the sultry What’s Your Pleasure?, amid a handful of costume changes.
An unwavering showcase of her versatility, the lasting effect is one of a rising superstar at the top of her game, content at having found her place in the pop scene and embracing the LGBTQ+ audience that informed and inspired her direction in recent years and showed up in their thousands to support what’s quickly become her most successful run to date.
Having shifted 20,000 tickets in the capital alone and countless more globally, the final stop on Ware’s latest run seemed to be a crossroads for the future; over a decade since the release of her debut LP, ‘Devotion’ (2012), arenas seem a natural next step for the vocalist and will no doubt pave the path forward for the next chapter in her career.
One thing that’s for sure is she shows no sign of slowing down and, closing the show with a dazzling cover of Cher’s Believe and recent hit Free Yourself, she signalled there’s plenty more to come: “I’m five albums in, and I feel like I’ve got so much more to do.”