I knew Corinne Bailey Rae was coming to Chicago, but I had no plans to go see her. From what I’d heard, the show was sold out. But because I had blogged about her album, the PR was able to work a last minute miracle. The day before the show, I got a pair of media tickets. Score!

Then I had to break it to my husband that he’d have to record his beloved Bulls basketball playoff game to accompany me to a concert by a singer he was less than familiar with. He wasn’t a happy camper, but that’s what the DVR is for, right?

So on Thursday night after a hurried dinner, my husband and I caught the el and whizzed across the city to The Vic. We got there just in time for Corinne to take the stage. The place was absolutely PACKED to the gills. Downstairs was sweaty standing room only. I had to tip toe and peer between two tall dudes to even catch a glimpse of Corinne’s gorgeousness. But gorgeous she was. And she was in AMAZING voice.

Corinne was backed by a five piece band, and they were on point – they set the mood perfectly for her more sultry songs, and amped it up for her faster paced numbers. She performed many songs from her latest album, The Sea, and seemed so genuinely thrilled when the audience sang along to her newer songs. Paris Nights and New York Mornings got heads bobbing, I’d Do It All Again was soaring and epic and aching, and Love’s On Its Way was incredibly moving. That song is about her love and her loss, and the glimpse of her bright, beaming smile after that song was wonderful for her fans.

Corinne’s fans are a diverse, fun, supportive group. People yelled “Chicago loves you, Corinne!” and she was clearly basking in the adoration. Like a Star was an epic singalong that left glistening tears on the cheeks of quite a few ladies in the crowd. Put Your Records On got people dancing and couples swaying tenderly. But for me, the musical pinnacle of the night came when Corinne did a cover song she said she’d always wanted to do. A cover of one of her favorite songs — I Only Have Eyes For You.

BUT her band kicked it off with a reggae rhythm. Specifically, the Real Rock riddim. So imagine that song, with this bassline.

So. Frickin’. Wicked.

I mean, I could always tell Corinne was into reggae — “three little birds sat on my window, and they told me I don’t need to worry,” well hello Bob Marley. But this was a groove on a whole nother level, heavier and sultrier and different than Corinne’s other material. And I was about to lose my mind, y’all. If this is the beginning of Corinne’s Lovers’ Rock phase, I would NOT BE MAD about that! I really wish I could download this version, it was absolutely flawless, sexy, confident, inspired – the kind of song I’d listen to over and over again. Corinne if you’re reading this, please record that version and breathe new life into a doo wop classic!

Corinne in concert = totally worth the ticket price. She is intimate and sweet, and her voice is just as perfect (if not even better) in person.

Funny story — on the way home my husband said “she was great! But why didn’t she sing…” and he starts humming this song. I was like “babe, because that’s by Norah Jones!” LOL! Both artists will be at the Lilith Fair, which I’m beyond excited about.

Corinne’s tour continues through August – click for dates in both the US and around the world. Next she’ll be in Toronto, Montral, then Boston, Philly, NYC, ATL and DC – so get your tickets now!

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Sarah says:
April 26, 2010, 9:44 am
I'm so jealous! I'm gutted that Corinne has abandoned her native land for America >.< I remember I just fell in love with her music the first time I heard 'Put Your Record On' on the TV...in the middle of the summer heat, time frozen, my heart stopped beating...that song made that moment of my life pure perfection and every time I remember it, I get the biggest smile on my face. Also - I love your blog. Keep doing what you do! Hopefully, if I ever have a blog, it will be at least half as successful and inspiring as yours :)
KariWrites says:
April 26, 2010, 9:45 am
I'll be in Seattle for Lilith Fair in July. Sarah, Sheryl, Erykah, Colbie. Sighz.
bella says:
April 26, 2010, 10:13 am
Thanks Sarah!! Corinne has definitely found stateside success. But she'll be back to the UK soon enough! If you ever start a blog, let me know!! Kari - so lucky! Hoping to attend the Chicago one. Fingers crossed!
Soulafrodisiac says:
April 26, 2010, 10:18 am
I heart S, he's too much...lol SO happy you enjoyed the show, I knew you would!
Dasheen Magazine says:
April 26, 2010, 9:17 pm
Bella, I swear it seems like stuff is so on and popping in Chi-Town :) And Corrine is just so special. So very cool that you had the opp to see her live. Did you take any pics? Now if only Maxwell and Jill could make O-Town a stop on their tour. :D
Caribbean Girl says:
April 26, 2010, 11:36 pm
eek-A-Mouse - yow - haven't heard for ages. Oh bella, where do you pull these things from! Love yah.
Rochelle aka @greenlightprjct says:
April 27, 2010, 7:30 am
Good concert review. Certainly a Corrine fan. But, your writing filled in details that makes me want to make her next concert. Love what you're doing lady. Can't wait to see this translate into your next venture!
BlackBetty says:
April 27, 2010, 11:32 am
I'm such a fan but I'll miss her NYC show since it's sold out :( The new album is growing on me. I have some favorites and some tracks I skip based on mood. Plus her style is wicked!
Nia says:
April 29, 2010, 12:19 am
Thanks for sharing. I love Corinne's music! Hey, I love your accounts of the night. So, I guess you can add music critic to your resume'. :) Keep up the good work!
neosouljunkie says:
May 1, 2010, 5:11 am
I WAS AT THAT CONCERT TOO!!! I went alone since the friend I was planning to go with lost his ticket... I'm so glad I went anyway, It was magical!!! Corinne is pure awesomeness, she was so on point from beginning to end and she appeared to genuinely appreciate all the love Chi-Town showed her. Would see her again tomorrow if I could!!!
Rae says:
May 1, 2010, 5:53 pm
I saw her in Montreal last wednesday and she sang the covers you listed. I was wondering who sang that song, "I only have eyes for you". Thank you Bella!
Vivi says:
May 3, 2010, 5:23 pm
I saw her at the Montreal show too! She was absolutely radiant and captivating! Wonderful musicality from that band...and she KILLED Que Sera Sera too...
dalia says:
May 4, 2010, 3:24 pm
i squealed "THE FLAMINGOS" as soon as i heard her start. saw her in montreal... that "choon" has been a favourite of mine since i was a child (and i'm really not that old). so she mixed two of my fave elements of music - a good riddim and a bon vox - and it was magic. not many people seemed to know the tune (much less the original) so my cries of "brrrrrrapppp!" were underappreciated. LOL