REVIEW: Katie Melua, Sheffield City Hall

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THIS evening is the start of the UK tour postponed due to a health breakdown last autumn.

And it finds her in fine form as she delivers an inspirational set touching on all four of her albums.

Now 26 and more autonomous in recent times, the Georgia-born singer became a star when record label boss, manager and collaborator Mike Batt discovered her at the BRIT school and orchestrated an international breakthrough at just 19 with the 3.5 million-selling album Call Off The Search.

Katie has gone from strength to strength since, as faithful fans packing out this venue tonight confirmed.

Before the main event singer songwriter Jonathan Jeremiah, a bearded lank-haired Londoner, entertained a good early crowd with his soulful vocals and intelligent lyrical tales. Lost proved the highlight of an impressive set.

Miss Melua opened behind the curtain with landmark hit The Closest Thing To Crazy to rapturous applause. Supported by a quartet of exceptional musicians, the diminutive beauty has a voice that melts audience hearts.

Latest album The House is a move towards more intense, rockier material that gives her vocal chords good exercise on tracks like The Flood and I’d Love To Kill You, a tale of unrequited love.

The near 100-minute set also accommodates old faves like Lilac Wine and My Aphrodisiac Is You before encoring her biggest hit 9 Million Bicycles and the excellent I Cried For You to complete a sensational show.

Sean Bruce