Jorja Smith @ Manchester Albert Hall review – back and better than ever

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Featured image: Press

It’s been five years since Jorja Smith last played the Albert Hall, a former Wesleyan chapel-turned-gig venue that sits between bars and restaurants on the ever-busy Peter Street. Her growth is perhaps best reflected in the sheer number of people braving the freezing cold to pack the building out.

Here to celebrate the release of sophomore album Falling or Flying, accompanied by a full band, the setlist is a perfectly balanced celebration of the old and new. ‘Feelings’ and ‘Addicted’ fire up the crowd, though their energy tapers off for much of the other new material.

Despite the audience reaction, Smith spends much of the evening with a huge grin on her face, and although the room maybe hasn’t had enough time to digest Smith’s new album, they still clap along to the title track.

Smith wheels out her greatest hits in the second half. There’s ‘Blue Lights,’ arguably the greatest piece of songwriting Smith will ever produce, which is powerful enough that the crowd stops all conversation to sing along. Meanwhile, one of her oldest songs, ‘Teenage Fantasy’, showcases her growth both as a songwriter and person.

There’s no encore. Instead, Smith invites the audience to party as the sound of the summer belter, ‘Little Things’, rings out before rounding the night off with ‘On My Mind’. Tonight is a full circle moment for the singer and a real treat for the audience. It’s impossible not to bask in the fact that this should be one of the last times anyone will see Jorja Smith in a venue this small.

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Minty Slater Mearns

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