1st November 2019
Heather Nova - “Pearl” Tour Europe 2019 – Support: Lisa Who
The dark month of November started in a perfectly cosy way. HEATHER NOVA, the Bermudian singer/ songwriter who grew up on a sailboat in the Caribbean and went on to sell over 2 million albums and play over 600 shows in her 20-year career to date, came to Cologne to promote her newest album ‘Pearl’. A long line of people in their thirties and forties waiting patiently in line in the light rain outside the smug Gloria Theater proved that the singer has not been forgotten since her first appearance in Cologne in 1994. Even the typically omnipresent ticket hawkers were conspicuously absent, as the concert has sold out months ago, and no one seemed to want to miss the appearance of the Bermudian singer.
LISA WHO, who identifies as Lisa Nicklisch at airports, and plays the keyboard at the Indie Rock band MADSEN, scored the support slot for the comeback tour of HEATHER NOVA. LISA WHO has released her debut album, ‘Sehnsucht’, in 2017 and a new single, ‘Ein neuer Beginn’, could indicate that a new album is around the corner. More information can be found via https://www.facebook.com/whoislisawho or https://lisawho.de.
Music & Performance
The sold-out venue of the Gloria Theater offered LISA WHO the chance to play her music to a larger audience. However, the piano-oriented music together with Lisa’s loud voice and the melancholic, bordering to depressing lyrics of her opener ‘Ein neuer Beginn’ seemed to have caught the audience on the wrong foot. Most people kept on chatting as good as they could against the musical backdrop, and the loudest applause could be heard when LISA WHO announced the last song.
01. Ein neuer Beginn
02. Ich dreh mich nicht im Kreis
03. Keine Rettung
04. In der Natur
05. Ich komme mit, ich bin dabei
06. Weit wie die See
Total: 5 / 10
HEATHER NOVA emerged in the early 90s. Her first record was hailed as “A stoned black olive among drab greens” by NME and her second album ‘Oyster’ went on to top the charts on both sides of the Atlantic and took her on her first world tour. Her next album, ‘Siren’, established her firmly in the world of Alternative Rock, with singles charting worldwide, and invitations to play major festivals in Europe, the UK and America, as well as song placement in major TV shows and film soundtracks. She soon gathered a wide fan base due in part to her compelling live shows. In the early days she spent 8 months a year on the road and her sound was unique - one of the first Rock bands to combine a cello with distorted guitars and top it all with her ethereal sirens-call voice. There was an intensity and a uniqueness to her live shows that created a buzz and a solid following. She released three live albums - ‘Blow’, ‘Live from the Milky Way’ and ‘Wonderlust’. Her self-penned songs have always been raw and emotional, frequently injected with cool Pop melodies; A combination which often had her falling through the cracks between genres. This both helped and hindered her.
The London Evening Standard recently called her “one of Pop’s most enduring enigmas” for good reason. She has always made her own way and has had little regard for the current trends. For more about the singer go to http://www.HeatherNova.com or https://www.facebook.com/HeatherNovaOfficial.
Music & Performance
A little after 8:30pm, the stage lights fell dark, an electronic intro resounded over the PA, and HEATHER NOVA appeared together with her three band mates to the resounding applause of the audience. Heather kicked off that night’s set by strumming the opening riff of ‘See Yourself’ from her last album ‘Pearls’ on her acoustic guitar, and the first vocals made it very clear that Heather’s voice had lost nothing of her siren-like, crystal-clear characteristic timbre, setting her miles apart from the vocoder queens of popular radio. Her gracious appearance in her white dress behind a set of white lilies draped around the microphone made the journey into the past complete, as the 52-year old singer still exuded the angelic aura of previous decades.
The setlist of that night was clearly dominated by her newest release. These - together with the full rock band instrumentation - showed the rockier side of the song material. For ‘Everything Changes’ half of the band left the stage briefly, as only bassist Arnulf remained and accompanied Heather on Cello. The next song ‘Spirit in You’ also benefitted from the reduced treatment, which clearly exhibited Heather’s vocal capabilities. For ‘Your Words’ the guitarist and drummer returned, so it was full-on rock again for the rest of the set, which in its main part ended after 80 minutes, when the band left the stage. Fortunately though, Cologne was not ready to let Heather go, so steady screaming and clapping brought her back to the stage for a two-song encore. The evening ended with an escalated version of ‘Sugar’ from her best-selling 1994 album ‘Oyster’ in a giant guitar feedback orgy.
01. See Yourself
02. London Rain (Nothing Heals Me Like You Do)
03. Save a Little Piece of Tomorrow
04. The Wounds we bled
05. All the Rivers
07. Rewild Me
08. Everything Changes
09. Spirit in You
10. Your Words
11. I Wanna Be Your Light
12. Some Things Just Come Undone
13. Sea Glass
14. Just Kids
15. Make You Mine
16. Paper Cup (with snippet of Don’t Dream It’s Over, Crowded House song)
Total: 8 / 10
All pictures by André Wilms