British singer-songwriter George Ezra’s April performance at a packed Lincoln Theatre as he continued his U.S. tour promoting his March album, “Staying at Tamara’s,” showcased the captivating energy he commands.
Lincoln Theatre’s silk curtains, plush velvet, extravagant lighting fixtures, and walls detailed in floral and gold granted the venue a regal atmosphere. The room was full of eager fans who stood for the d. Despite the size, the room was full heavily populated,, with some eager fans even standing in the aisles for the entire show.
Before Ezra came on, the audience was lucky enough to hear Vermont-raised singer Noah Kahan perform his folk-esque alternative songs. Kahan walked out without an introduction and immediately began singing, bathed in the glow of two blue spotlights, his faced still shrouded in darkness. Though they didn’t seem to know his music well, the audience swayed with Kahan’s beautiful lilting voice; the way he flawlessly hit every difficult high note was hard to ignore. After two songs, he thanked the audience for joining him, though the singer remained a bit reserved.
As his set went on he began to play more popular songs, including “Hurt Somebody” from his 2018 EP of the same name. He ended by singing his 2017 single “Young Blood” while the audience sang along. When he finished, he politely thanked everyone for their time and slipped offstage.
Exactly half an hour later, the lights went dark and Ezra’s backup singers and musicians silently walked into place onstage. The lights came up as Ezra began dramatically playing his guitar and engaged the audience with a rousing performance of “Cassy O’” from his album “Wanted on Voyage,” released in the United States in 2015. When the song ended, Ezra shared that he would be playing some old and some new songs, but they were all going to be “songs about escaping and dreaming.”
Ezra remained true to his word. Before each song he shared personal stories with the audience about how each song was conceived. He talked about traveling Europe, wandering through cities, engaging with different people and transforming these experiences into songs.
Before singing “Pretty Shining People” from his latest album, “Staying at Tamara’s,” Ezra shared that he had been sitting with his journal, watching people pass by in Barcelona when he realized all kinds of people have no idea what they’re doing, and decided to write a song embracing that sentiment. After sharing each story, he passionately performed the song, sliding across the stage with impressive Elvis-like dance moves. His talent as a showman became obvious as he alternated between upbeat songs, such as “Don’t Matter Now,” and more somber ones, like “Saviour,” both from his latest album.
Whenever Ezra spoke between songs to mention places and experiences in Europe, the crowd screamed in response, thinking that he was going to sing some of his most popular songs. He did not disappoint. Ezra sang “Barcelona” early in the show to an excited audience, who delightedly sang along. Throughout this song and others, he often stopped singing and instead held his microphone out to the audience, relying on them to belt out the chorus.
Before his last song, Ezra shared that when he was eighteen, he realized love songs were always about what someone would give up to be with another person. But, being a teenager, he thought it would be funny to write a song about giving up things he did not have. The audience began to see where the story was going and started to buzz with delight. As he ended his story, he began the last song of the night: “Budapest.” He was met with dancing, singing and cheers. As it ended he said, “I hope you have a lovely night wherever you go,” and he was off.
Ezra’s concert, while in a large venue with a large audience, felt intensely personal because of the way he engaged with his fans. Addressing them as “guys” and striking a playful and humorous note with stories made the audience members feel as though they knew him as a friend. Bookending the concert with two of his most popular songs and singing his more recent material in the middle allowed the audience to appreciate his latest work while still honoring his beginnings. In sum, the show felt comfortable and loving — an honest tribute fitting of Ezra himself.