Concert Review: Imogen Heap @ Humphreys by the Bay (San Diego, CA) June 20, 2010

Concert Reviews, Features, Imogen Heap — By on August 4, 2010 7:29 pm

So when it comes to “favorites,” I’m generally like a child—whatever I love now is my CAN’T-GET-ENOUGH-EVER-FAVORITE!!!! thing. However, there have been some favorites that have been unwaveringly on my list for so long that they’ve built up enough credibility to be considered Actual Favorites, as opposed to Now Favorites.

I know…complicated. I wouldn’t say that I’m high maintenance…just unusual maintenance. But those Actual Favorites are things that I have, from moment one, loved, and have never NOT loved. Mint chocolate chip ice cream is one, the color black is another—I’m pretty sure nothing will ever top these Actual Favorites. And as far as music is concerned, Imogen Heap is, unquestionably, an Actual Favorite. Since I was first introduced to her (small, totally unprofessional shout out to my mix-tape friend, Britton Dennis), I have LOVED her. I immediately purchased anything that she’d ever released, and have kept up with any and everything she puts out there, including several really weird compilations and movie soundtracks. Seeing her live has been a life’s goal since I learned she existed in the early 2000s, so when I saw her on the Coachella 2010 roster, I almost died. Not really, but you get it. And after seeing her there and hearing she was coming to San Diego, I did die. Again…you get it…but it’s not really right to talk about her without extreme hyperbole.

Some words on the venue: Humphrey’s is an outdoor, seating-only venue. I generally prefer stand-as-close-to-the-stage-as-possible scenes, but somehow, it worked. The venue is beautiful—right on the Bay, extremely well-kempt (is that redundant?), and, especially for an outdoor venue in the middle of a community, has excellent sound quality. I would go there again any day. They also have a nice, grassy, behind-the-seats area that’s perfect for dancing like a crazy person when your favorite song is played, at least until security (very nicely) asks you to sit back down (another unprofessional shout out to my friend Mary Rath, who didn’t let me crazily dance alone).

Some words on the set list: here’s something I haven’t seen before—Imogen (do you like how I refer to her on a first name basis, like we’re friends?) let her fans pick the set list by voting on her website. Everything I voted for was played in her more-than-20-song set. Thanks, Imogen. And the list included songs from her new album, some old favorites, and even a song from her former collaboration, Frou Frou. But that fact alone set the tone for the whole show, which was even more personal and intimate than many smaller shows I’ve been to.

Some words on how personal and intimate it was: Before her even started her set, she personally introduced her opening acts. In addition to her set list being fan-shaped and representative of her whole career, she took time to connect the audience to each song. We learned about “Bad Body Double” being inspired by a look in the mirror. She split up the audience and had us sing her background vocals in “Just For Now.” She even called out to the audience for a musical phrase (which, weirdly enough, turned out to be, in true 70s porn style, “bow chick a bow wow”. And I thought I had the most Mai Tais…just kidding.), around which she shaped a just-for-us-in-San-Diego song, that she actually released on her website, which you can purchase to benefit the San Diego Zoo. She was extremely audience-friendly, and interactive, and when it’s just one person on stage, it makes it even more meaningful. Some words on the quality of performance: Unreal. Amazing. Memorable. Beautiful. The best. There aren’t enough words.

Some words on the music: She played every one of my most-playeds, which was amazing for me. She played them alone, which was amazing for the world. She rocks so many instruments (keytar!), so many weird things (including the tree, which made an appearance at Coachella, and something that, were I more musically trained, I would know, but looked like a plastic snake that she just swung around and that sounded like a loud hum), and loops them all so well…I could’ve been listening to a studio track. But it was live, which made it all the more (I’ll say it again) amazing.

One thing that was annoying: all those people yelling “Play Hide and Seek!!!!” It’s not like she’s NOT going to play Hide and Seek. Come on. Give her a moment to get to it. Some words on how I feel about Imogen Heap: I LOVE HER. I want to be friends with her. I feel like we’d get along really well, and could maybe share cute tops and appetizers at restaurants. Also, her music is inspired, and being in the presence of her creating it life was something I will never forget. If I ever quit my 9-5, I’m taking a year to follow her everywhere (on tour…not in a creepy way. Or was the appetizer thing already too much?).

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