Sam Smith live at Abbey Road Studios

Sam Smith live at Abbey Road Studios | Live Review

November 2, 2020


Marking the launch of their third studio album, love goes, Sam Smith shows a keen awareness of his fans, bringing a personal and intimate gig filled with old favorites and new songs to Abbey Road Studios. With the closest thing to a real performance, Smith encourages viewers to sit down with a cup of tea or a glass of wine and treats them to a seamlessly produced show that has the feel of a session of live studio or behind-the-scenes documentary. Smith’s love for the studios, the “mecca and sanctuary of music” as they describe it, is evident in the way they use the space and seem to love every minute of the experience. There are no annoying moments of screen pixelation or buffering disrupting the music flow; the concert is as well built and smooth as Smith’s last record, and it’s a real treat.

Opening with an intimate and atmospheric performance by Young, the show is intercut with black-and-white footage from two weeks earlier, in which Smith talks about the songs and the writing process. This, along with personal conversations addressed directly to the viewer at home (“it’s story time”), contributes to the concert’s sense of intimacy. “We’re going to turn Abbey Road into a gay bar now,” beams Smith as they burst into promises. The tempo is then composed with a tender interpretation of lay me down; “I feel like there was magic in that one,” Smith whispers.

Determined to live life to the fullest and talk about it, Smith tells us how love goes was a “little discovery” – an album that “came home and had difficult conversations with myself”. The titular track love goesplayed with Labrinth, shows it fully and has a transporting emotional resonance.

Smith ends the show with Stay with me, perhaps their most iconic song, performed with the same intimacy and simplicity the crowd enjoyed all night. These are difficult and unprecedented times, but watching and witnessing Smith’s endless creativity offers an example of how we can get through this with art and music. Smith responds to the circumstances with a performance that doesn’t seem to miss just because his audience isn’t physically present. They exploit viewers’ isolation and provide a sense of community with this very personal concert.

Georgie Cowan Turner

For more information and future events visit the Sam Smith Live website here.

Listen to the audio of the single Young here:

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