Patty Griffin at Kings Place (Sept. 10th, 2015 – London, UK)
To walk in to the smaller of the two auditoriums at London’s Kings Place for Patty Griffin’s warm up for the Servant of Love tour is to feel privileged to be in such intimate surroundings. She is one of the most acclaimed songwriters of her generation; a GRAMMY award winner whose material has been covered by among others, Joan Baez, Emmylou Harris, The Dixie Chicks and Bette Midler.
With a seating capacity of 220, this small room, with wonderful acoustics, seemed an incongruous setting for an artist who has sold out much larger (London) venues. She could and does attract much greater audience numbers but as the evening unfolded I came to understand why she might have preferred to perform in such surroundings…
Griffin, accompanied on guitar(s) by David Pulkingham, took the brave decision to present twelve of the thirteen tracks from her new album. This meant that many of us in the audience were hearing the collection for the first time, as the official album release date was the following day. Now, there are many artists who would not be confident enough to do this but Griffin has a loyal fan base who is very keen to hear new material. The setting was therefore ideal; she was relaxed, chatted easily between songs and acknowledged the sterling support received from Pulkingham.
Whilst Servant of Love builds on her folk and roots music heritages there are touches of jazz and the rhythms of world music in the material. Always a strong, poetic writer, she covers love and loss so tenderly but “Good and Gone” is a searingly powerful indictment on what seems to be an all too familiar occurrence in America – the shooting, by police, of innocent, black youths.
Within the set list, Griffin reminded us of her very successful forays into Gospel music by performing covers of “The Strange Man”, “Precious Lord” and “Waiting For MyChild”. She also showed off her linguistic skills by opening the night with “Caminito De La Sierra” in Spanish.
Although she said that she almost never responds to requests, she made an exception tonight by performing “Heavenly Day” from her 2007 Children Running Through album, during the two-song encore.
The evening was a triumph and I can’t wait for her to return; although I’ve got the album to listen to there’s nothing that beats hearing her sing live. This was the only UK date on the current run as she’s about to embark upon a long US tour – American friends you are in for an absolute treat!