I was a bit apprehensive about going to Corinne Bailey Rae’s Karpos Live! gig.
It was her first time in the Philippines and I thought this was a stop in her Black Rainbows Tour to promote the new album. I know her music through her jazz hits like “Put Your Record On” and “Like A Star.” Her new album is wildly experimental and is a big departure from what she’s known for.
I was so glad my fears were unfounded. I wanted classic Corinne Bailey Rae jazz -- and that’s what I got.
For this concert, the venue -- Filinvest Tent, Alabang -- was smaller and much more intimate. The smaller space felt like a cozy lounge where we got to meet the jazz great up close and personal. Rae was a picture of grace and warmth, often taking time to talk to the crowd with bits of connection and conversation.
She set the evening right with “Back To The Moon” saying her hi’s and hellos to the audience and her giddiness being in the Philippines for the first time. She then warmed up the crowd with “Closer” and “Breathless,” reacquainting the audience with her soulful vocals and letting the band let loose with killer solos.
She bopped with “Horseprint Dress” and then dedicated “Till It Happens to You” to those in the audience who’ve fallen in love with their best friends.
A highlight was her performance of her cover of Bob Marley’s “Is This Love.” She won a Grammy for Best R&B Performance for this and it was a treat to hear this live!
She upped the tempo with her travel-inspired “Paris Nights/New York Mornings” that captured the feeling of flying to some unknown destination for the first time.
Rae proved that she can rock with the best of them with her only track from her new album “Black Rainbows.” “New York Transit Queen” was a headbanging cheerleader anthem reminiscent of Joan Jett and Avril Lavigne, that momentarily let Corinne Bailey Rae transform into a punk rocker for a little while.
Visiting artists have different reactions when they find out their Filipino audience can sing! During “Green Aphrodisiac” where Rae got the crowd to “na na na” after her, Rae charmingly admitted “I really don’t know how to end this,” seemingly getting joyously lost in the serenading of the crowd until the music gently faded away.
Then she launched into a trio of her best loved hits -- “Trouble Sleeping," “Put Your Record On," and “Like A Star” with extended moments of her just holding the microphone to the crowd letting them sing her songs. Besides that, she asked the crowd to recommend local artists to get to know our music. I guess she’ll be adding Armi Millare, Rico Blanco, and Ben & Ben to her playlist soon.
Rae ended the evening with the up-tempo “The Skies Will Break” which all but guaranteed to lift anybody’s spirits.
She ended the night with the lights on with no encore with a lot of the crowd staying behind for autographs and pictures.
The evening skies did break for jazz lovers that night. And like the star that she is, Rae declared that she will be back. But ‘til then, Corinne Bailey Rae fans will have trouble sleeping as we put our playlists on with old favorites and new additions from her Karpos Live! setlist.