Since appearing on Strictly Come Dancing in 2016, fans of Louise have been patiently waiting for the star to return to music. Following her success on the BBC series, Louise joined the touring cast of Cabaret alongside Will Young and began putting out a series of live videos titled The Metropolis Sessions. It wasn’t long before Louise started teasing a proper return to music and she performed her first headline show in over 15 years at London’s Under the Bridge. Continuing to build on the buzz around her musical return, Louise announced dates for a short headline Intimate & Live tour, which rolled into London’s Scala last night.
Arriving on stage a little after 9pm, Louise opened her set with Arms Around the World. The sold-out audience started singing along in seconds and the energy in the room was magnificent. As Louise wowed with her impressive live vocals, you could tell she was genuinely overwhelmed by the love and support of her fans. Having called time on her music career in 2003 to focus on family life and pursue other opportunities, you got the feeling that Louise probably never expected to resume her pop career but she was clearly relishing every minute of her performance.
The set list was packed with all the hits fans wanted to hear. From debut solo single Light of My Life through to her last single Pandora’s Kiss, Louise left nothing out. On two occasions she dipped into her time with Eternal by performing Just a Step From Heaven mashed up with Lucy Pearl’s Don’t Mess With My Man and the group’s debut single Stay. She even managed to fit one cover into the set list, Kehlani’s Bright, which Louise recorded as part of her Metropolis Sessions video series.
It’s easy to forget just how many hits Louise has under her belt but as soon as she started singing them, everyone knew every word. The Wu-Tang Clan sampling Beautiful Inside stands up today with its self-empowerment message, Undivided Love is still a pure pop rush and the sultry One Kiss From Heaven remains one of Louise’s finest songs. An acoustic performance of All That Matters really allowed Louise’s voice to shine and sounded the best I’ve ever heard her. Her voice was strong and powerful with impressive vibrato.
The biggest cheers of the night were saved for the final three songs. Naked, which is probably Louise’s best-known song, saw the singer throwing a little of the original choreography into the mix while 2 Faced turned into a full-on singalong with the crowd. The set came to a close with Louise’s cover of Let’s Go Round Again, which ended the night on a serious high and put a smile on everyone’s face.
With the Intimate & Live tour, Louise has moved the focus away from her personal life and back onto her music. Last night’s performance in London was a reminder of just what a pop force she was in the 90s and early noughties, and she proved that she’s sounding better than ever. With these shows, Louise is making a statement that she means business and her recent record deal announcement suggests this is only the beginning. As I left the venue last night, I couldn’t help but feel glad that Louise is finally back performing and making music and I can’t wait to see what she does next.
Set list: 1. Arms Around the World 2. Beautiful Inside 3. Light of My Life 4. Pandora’s Kiss 5. Bright (Kehlani cover) 6. In Walked Love 7. Undivided Love 8. All That Matters (acoustic) 9. Just a Step From Heaven / Don’t Mess With My Man 10. One Kiss From Heaven 11. Stay 12. Naked 13. 2 Faced 14. Let’s Go Round Again Performance date: 24th January 2018