Norah Jones keeps it simple but stunning as she dedicates a song to Leonard Cohen at London gig - review

The singer made a rare appearance in London to support her latest album Day Breaks.

A sighting of Norah Jones in the UK is a rare thing these days. Like the Golden Eagle in the latest episode of David Attenborough’s Planet Earth II, she’s elusive for the most part, only swooping in when absolutely necessary. And when she does, it’s for the kill.

The last time the nine-time Grammy winner performed in the UK was four years ago for two London dates in support of 2012’s Little Broken Hearts album. This time, we (read: London) were given just a single show at the London Palladium as part of the European leg of her tour promoting her sixth solo studio album Day Breaks – a record that sees her return to the piano-jazz sound of her multi-million selling debut Come Away With Me, one of the UK’s biggest selling albums of all time.

Flanked by her backing band The Candles and dressed in what she called a “hairy scarf” and leather boots, Norah admitted she was nervous as she gently kicked off proceedings with Day Breaks, I've Got To See You Again and Out On The Road. But any nerves were easily disguised by her smooth, alluring and near-flawless vocal, despite suffering the effects of a cold between songs.

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Picking off six songs from Day Breaks and a seemingly random sprinkling of tracks from her other records, Norah weaved effortlessly between her signature jazz style, the country stylings of 2004’s Feels like Home and the indie pop-rock of 2009’s The Fall and Danger Mouse-produced Little Broken Hearts. She dedicated a cover of Leonard Cohen's Everybody Knows to the late music legend following his death last week, letting the song's gloomy lyrics do the talking for her.

She even threw in a song from her little known alt-country band Puss n Boots complete with extended rock-out finale, while a rootsy, hip-swinging encore including her Dolly Parton duet Creepin' momentarily transformed the Palladium into a dive bar. Anyone who thinks Norah deals exclusively in beige dinner party music is sorely mistaken.

Unsurprisingly, Come Away With Me and Don’t Know Why - the songs that catapulted her to the global stage – were greeted with cheers in the middle of her set; both timeless classics that, like Norah, seem to only improve over time.  

Norah Jones' set at the London Palladium:

Day Breaks
I've Got to See You Again
Out on the Road
It's Gonna Be
Sinkin' Soon
Wake Me Up
Come Away With Me
Everybody Knows (Leonard Cohen cover)
Don't Know Why
Little Broken Hearts
Peace Play
Don't Be Denied (Neil Young cover)
Carry On

Sunrise (Acoustic Version)
Creepin' In (Acoustic Version)
How Many Times Have You Broken My Heart? (Acoustic Version)

Article Image: Rex