Skip to main content

22nd February 2018

Live Review: Seal

Seal made Valentine’s Day unforgettable for the O2 Apollo on his Standards Tour
Live Review: Seal
Photo: Ryan Johnston

Seal needs no introduction. He’s a national treasure and an undeniable legend of the 90’s and early 2000’s pop scene. Hits like ‘Kiss From A Rose’, ‘Crazy’, his cover of Steve Miller Band’s ‘Fly Like An Eagle’ and ‘Prayer For A Dying’, among many other songs, are instantly recognisable by everyone, everywhere.

At the end of 2017, the superstar from Paddington released Standards, an album that pays tribute to, as Seal called them, “some of the greatest songs ever written”.

Sinatra, Ellington, Armstrong, Chaplin, Gershwin… it’s safe to call them titans of the pre-contemporary musical scene, having set a precedent that few have surpassed. Along with this album, the ‘Standards Tour’ is stopping by the UK, Ireland, France and, lastly, Australia.

The O2 Apollo was set up with seating for the evening, making it feel extremely classy. Our first treat for the evening was Tabo, a soulful singer with a heart of gold; he made sure to greet people at the end of the night and we made a point to snap a picture and gave him a warm hug — what a charmer! A soft synth keyboard was the single accompaniment to his voice, and that was already a hell of an instrument in itself. Foot stomping, tongue clicks and dancing on the spot rounded off his performance to the almost-full Apollo.

Tobias and Tabo — Photo: Tobias Soar
Tobias and Tabo — Photo: Tobias Soar

Seal’s arrival to the stage was welcomed with a round of applause before he jumped straight into a series of tracks from Standards. His style, charm and genuine charisma which shone through during and, mostly, in between songs made it a pleasure to watch.

Members of the audience kept screaming for Seal to sing his own songs instead of the classics and, quite surprisingly, he grabbed an acoustic guitar — which, interestingly, he played left-handed, as Paul McCartney does – and serenaded us with an acoustic rendition of ‘Kiss From a Rose’.

Earlier in the show he remarked “you’re all well behaved for a Seal show, this is very uncharacteristic of us”. Well, the naughtiness began as he took off his blazer, rolled up his shirt sleeves and hit us with ‘Crazy’. Now it was a Seal show.

I couldn’t help but notice and admire how he would walk the stage, right to edge, and make eye contact with audience members. This small gesture really makes a difference, it draws you in more than any crazy set piece or dance crew ever will.

Then, Seal took this immersion to the next level: he jumped off stage. He was quite literally less than 10 feet from where I was. Of course, the audience was delighted with a couple of people sheepishly walking up to him and embracing him. Seal was totally cool with this, taking people under his arm and then proceeding to dance with a young woman in front of us. She seemed to be at the concert with her partner but, unfortunately for him, no one can compete with Seal. It’s fair to call him “Mr. Seal your girl”.

I wasn’t aware of this being on my bucket list but it must have been because you can bet I’ll tell my grandchildren about the night I boogied with Seal.

Seal’s classics, his own songs, his charm, his swagger, his genuine affection towards the crowd and every factor of the show made for an undoubtedly memorable show and, ultimately, a perfect night out on Valentine’s Day.


More Coverage

Fat White Family’s Lias Saoudi is circling around the Post-Punk cul-de-sac

Now that Fat White family have returned with ‘Forgiveness Is Yours’, lead-singer Lias Saoudi has a lot more to say about post-punk, lyricism, and being a Londoner

Peter Bibby – Drama King: A tragic and unpredictable opus

Infusing the classic songwriting of Dylan and Springsteen with Australian wit and dive bar narratives, Peter Bibby’s latest album constantly surprises

Tenacious D live in Manchester: The metal bring the fire

Jack Black’s rock-comedy project Tenacious D stopped off in Manchester on their ‘Spicy Meatball’ tour, performing to 20,000 fans at the AO Arena

Sour Grapes Records’ ‘Meltchester’: Mancunion music community at its finest

Manchester’s own Sour Grapes Records brings Meltchester to town again at Projekts Skatepark