Wednesday night. It’s half way through the week, just before hump day and a couple days before the weekend. But a good day to recoup and reflect on what’s been happening. Also, according to recent news stories, Wednesday has become the new night to go out during the week. As it helps to shake off the mid-week blues and stops you from always looking forward to the weekend, because you’re enjoying weekdays even more. Well that’s exactly what I was doing last Wednesday, with a couple hundred other people, when I went to see Raleigh Ritchie perform.
As part of his UK tour, Raleigh stopped off in London and gave us an impressive show at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. He was supported by the lovely Sasha Keable, who managed to make us feel so deeply with the soulful tones of her voice. As well as make us laugh due to her infectious personality, while she expressed herself on stage. This definitely set the tone for what was coming next. So as the light dimmed and the band walked on to the stage, the crowd started buzzing. Eager for the main man to come out. And thankfully he didn’t keep us waiting for too long.
Out Raleigh came with a space helmet on, synonymous with his latest branding and a smart way to catch people’s attention. Which he did straight away, getting into it with song Stronger Than Ever which was clearly a fan favourite. One thing that really stood out to me from the beginning of the show was just how enthusiastic the audience was. There wasn’t a dull moment because of them and Raleigh showed his appreciation by continuously praising his audience for their bravery. And simply for just showing up. This personable side to Raleigh was really welcomed by his audience. Something I can confirm due to the conversations I was eavesdropping on.
Raleigh’s character shone on stage and he came across very genuine. He looked like he was enjoying every moment of performing and the fact that fans were singing along made him very emotional. He was running, jumping and dancing on the stage like he owned it and that just reassured me that he knew exactly where he belonged. From the set list, to the lights, to his band and even the layout of the stage, showed a lot of thought and intention. And I believe those things really go a long way in bringing the audience into the world you are trying to create for them.
Raleigh hasn’t released a body of work since debut album You’re A Man Now, Boy in 2016. But announced on stage that a new project was coming out soon, to which was met with very loud screaming and cheering. So all in all, this was a great night. A performance full of energy and excitement. To the point that fans refused to let him end the show by continuously singing, prompting for an encore. Which he honoured, twice!
So if you want to watch someone who clearly is adored by fans and adores them too, Raleigh Ritchie should be at the top of your list!