Sam Smith’s last appearance in Minnesota was in early 2015 when he performed at the legendary Roy Wilkin’s Auditorium on his “In the Lonely Hour” tour. Sam returned to a packed Xcel Energy Center (which can nearly quadruple the capacity of Roy Wilkin’s) touring on his most recent album The Thrill of it All, his first to debut at number one on the US charts.
The night began with Beth Ditto, former lead singer of the Seattle based indie-rock band Gossip. Her strong, energetic, and vocally impressive songs left the crowd ready for more without a dull moment.
The lights dimmed and Sam emerged with a single spotlight illuminating him from behind as he began his set with his somber single, “Burning.” Members of the audience either mimed every word, staring in awe, or smiled with tears in their eyes. Witnessing those reactions shows truly what kind of impact Sam’s music has on his fans. Up next was “One Last Song,” showing, in his first two songs, his versatility in commanding the audience’s attention with both the slow, solemn and the fast, exciting tunes.
Sam then went on to perform “I’m Not the Only One” off of his first record as his unique stage setup emerged from the darkness. A large pyramid of light with a glowing orb around it towered over the stage and set the backdrop for the show.
Sam closed his set with “HIM,” and “Too Good At Goodbyes” showcasing not only his own talent but the connection with his backup vocalists and the live band. The pyramid split as if out of a James Bond flick and revealed a spiral staircase to a platform which he climbed. At a show like this one can reasonably expect an encore and Sam did not disappoint. After a short rest and a change of outfit, he performed arguably his most popular track, “Stay with Me,” as he donned a red pea coat and confetti slowly fell from the rafters.
Sam ended the night with his soulful track, “Pray.” He left the audience in a state of uplifted emotional vulnerability from a most honest performance.