By Poppy Tohill
Artist: KT Tunstall
Date / Venue: Saturday May 3rd, The Studio, Auckland
Photos: Sunday May 4th, Bodega, Wellington
Standing at the very front, looking up to KT Tunstall performing on stage, took me back to my twelve year old self when the Scottish singer-songwriter was my favourite artist. Excuse the pun, but after last night's show at K Road's Studio, ‘I Suddenly See' why Tunstall was my favourite.
It wasn't just her remarkable voice and extraordinary musical talent that made this a night to remember, but her comedic nature and bubbly personality which proved a highlight for all, made her performance more than just a concert, but a true captivating and inspiring experience.
Bursting onto the stage dressed in black shiny pants and a white top, armed with a similarly coloured guitar to match, Tunstall had the classic rock star, musician look down to a tee with the cool-chick attitude to match. Tapping a beat on the body of her guitar to feed through a loop along with a "Whoa, whoa, whoa" that would become her own backing vocals, Tunstall wasted no time launching into Miniature Disaster from her 2004 debut album, Eye To The Telescope as her set opener.
Continuing on to introduce the title track to her latest album, Invisible Empire by recounting her time recording the album in Tucson, Arizona, Tunstall accidentally confused New Zealand with Australia. Soon realising her mistake she told everyone to hold on a second, while she disappeared off stage, immediately returning and enthusiastically yelling "Hello Auckland!" into the microphone. ‘Restarting' the show making amends by telling the audience how the New Zealand landscape had made her cry while taking a helicopter ride over the Milford Sound.
The restarts continued as Tunstall abruptly ended Invisible Empire, admitting she had forgotten the lyrics, before contently starting over once more.
With the restarts not fazing the audience one bit, Tunstall had the entire audience in the palm of her hands as her stories between each song filled the entire room with laughter, making you feel like she was best friends with everybody in the room.
Midway through an upbeat version of Stoppin The Love, Tunstall revealed she had swallowed a full grown trumpet player when she was only a child and that he might play for us if we asked him nicely. Following a little encouragement from KT, the audience were soon yelling out to convince the trumpet player to join in, whereby KT went on to impressively imitate a trumpet using only her lips.
Before continuing on to perform an exceptional version of Other Side Of The World, Tunstall first asked the audience "Who here is in a long distance relationship?" replying with "You're an idiot if you are!"
After a congratulatory, shout out to Lorde, explaining she respects her for "not getting her tits out, like all the other girls at her level in the industry." Tunstall turned to the audience to help her decide which song to play next. With an exercise where she explained the story behind each song, Crows, a bonus track from Invisible Empire dominated the ‘shout-o-meter' competition, winning it's place on KT's set list fair and square.
Although spending most of her time playing guitar, tambourine and a little bit of mouth trumpet, Tunstall got behind the electric piano for a stunning Through The Dark, dramatically changing the atmosphere for the duration of the song as her soulful voice echoed throughout the entire venue.
She then told us of her two jumps off the Sky Tower earlier that day, dedicating a very energetic and upbeat performance of Black Horse And The Cherry Tree to a group of bungee technicians she invited to the show. An absolute crowd favourite, this version was enriched with a touch of kazoo and tambourine which she fed through her loop pedals, while going on to do a role play with the audience whereby everyone joined in singing the ‘woohoos' in a Freddie Mercury vocal style.
Ending her set with Hold On/Walk Like An Egyptian, it was clear an encore was around the corner, and Tunstall certainly didn't need much encouragement to race back on stage.
Beginning her encore with the slower paced The Boys Of Summer, It wasn't long before the energy was back as Tunstall attempted to turn the audience into a ‘human beatbox' naming us the ‘Auckland Beatbox.' Before continuing on to conclude the night with a performance of her popular hit single, ‘Suddenly I See,' which no brains were needed to figure out was a huge highlight for everybody.
Whether it was the music or KT's banter in between, which you enjoyed the most, it was very apparent that she is indeed a born entertainer/performer. Delivering the goods both musically and on a personal level, I for one left the concert in awe of what I had just witnessed and I truly hope more young, aspiring musicians look up to her as a role model, because she is what music and being a true artist is all about.