Review: Sam Smith Gives A Phenomenal Performance On First South African Tour
Sam Smith released his second studio album ‘The Thrill Of It All’ in November 2017 and set out on a worldwide tour to support the album in March 2018 in England. He has since visited countless countries in support of the album and it all comes to an end in South Africa where Sam is performing two shows in Johannesburg and three in Cape Town.
Newcomer Bonj was announced as the show’s official opener last month and, honestly, I don’t think she was the right fit. I think someone like Craig Lucas would have had a bigger wow factor for concert goers. Bonj is still relatively unknown but grabbed the opportunity to introduce herself to a wider audience with both hands – and she definitely gained a multitude of new fans. Bonj has a fantastic voice and it was clear that she had put in a lot of work for these shows. Bonj showed her passion for music by merging genres effortlessly while adding in proudly South African flavours to give her music an authentic feel. Bonj commanded the audience’s attention and I think she really has the potential to make it big. The singer ended off with her current single ‘Against The Grain’ and brought on collaborator DJ Zinhle out on stage as a surprise guest during the Sunday night performance.
After a thirty-minute interval, Sam Smith took to the stage. Surprisingly, the show was more upbeat than I thought it would be. The star kicked things off with his Normani-assisted single ‘Dancing With A Stranger’ before apologizing to his local fans for taking so long to come and perform in the country.
Sam loves performing and he really left his heart out on the stage. His voice is monumental and left thousands of people in awe. Not only is it powerful, but it’s crisp, clear and a real treat to witness live. Sam has also learned how to use his vocal for upbeat bangers like ‘La La La’, ‘Latch’ and ‘Promises’ as well as emotional anthems like ‘Stay With Me’ and ‘Pray’.
The highlight of the night, for me, was his beautiful performance of ‘HIM’. It was clear that the song meant so much to him and it was really great to see Sam be so unapologetically himself when it came to his sexuality, his emotions and the gay rights movement.
While Sam gave a fantastic performance and was incredibly warm and funny on stage, the show was a little bit too short. While he did play most of his biggest hits, he left out a few tracks he performed on other legs of the tour – notably so his James Bond theme song ‘Writing’s On The Wall’. The song was such a massive success for Sam here in South Africa and seeing that it was his first time performing here, we found it rather strange that he wouldn’t perform the song for his South African audience.
That being said, Sam put on one hell of a show and anyone who attended one of his concerts here can testify that he’s a star of epic proportions. Here’s hoping he comes to visit us when he tours with his next album.