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12th July 2022

Live Review: Paloma Faith @ Haydock Racecourse

Jessica Hamilton reviews Paloma Faith’s breath-taking summer set at Haydock Racecourse on her Age of Optimism Tour.
Live Review: Paloma Faith @ Haydock Racecourse
Photo: Paloma Faith – Fraser Mummery @ Flickr

Paloma Faith delighted fans at Haydock Park Racecourse last Friday. The Age of Optimism Summer Tour ironically ended up happening on a cold and showery night. But Faith’s charming persona and run through of her biggest hits was enough to keep the audience distracted from the weather. Arriving at 9:15 after a day of races, the particularly well-dressed audience flocked to see the award-winning star. 

Faith was dressed in a military-school girl-style outfit, matched with a red beret and tie, adding to her catalogue of signature quirky looks.  Perhaps after one-too-many drink the crowd ended up quite rowdy. But Paloma took it in good Faith (pun intended) by complimenting the northern audience. Knowing we’d love to hear it, she told us we were better than her southern crowds. The audience were a mix of guests specifically there to see Faith, and their other halves dragged along after the races. But all was well as everyone seemed to know the lyrics. 

Though performing most of her biggest hits, ‘Picking Up The Pieces’, ‘Cry Baby’, and ‘Lullaby’ stood out. They were sung just as well as the studio versions, made unique by Faith’s jazz-inspired style, which her album A Perfect Contradiction maintains. The audience seemed to prefer these safer, more definite pop songs compared to her more experimental tunes. But whilst Faith is definitely comfortable singing these popular songs, she appeared to have more fun with the faster paced songs as she could play with them differently.

Faith sang the lovely ‘Upside Down’ with a faster tempo than the recorded version, though the change in pace didn’t matter much to the audience. Enjoying the upbeat tune and lively lyrics nonetheless. ‘Upside Down’ is my personal favourite Paloma Faith song and the lyrics fit perfectly with her optimism-inspired tour, encouraging anybody slightly different or ‘Upside Down’ to embrace their quirks rather than ignoring them. And Faith’s success as an artist only reiterates the message of ‘Upside Down.’

Arguably her best performance of the night was a cover of Janis Joplin’s ‘Piece of My Heart.’  Doing justice to the iconic rock song, Faith’s sensational vocals boomed over the loud singing crowd. Faith ended the night with her well-known ‘Only Love Can Hurt Like This.’ The song, first released in 2014, continues to wow fans. And thanks to the viral TikTok sound, which has over 15,000 uploaded videos, it has a whole new lease of life. The ballad type of tune prompted audiences to light up their phones and a sea of flashlights encouraged her breath-taking vocals to soar before the set finished.

Her enjoyment of performing and her unique but down-to-earth personality resonated with the crowd. Faith has the ability to connect with any audience, fans or not, offering a personal performance despite her star status. Even more than a decade after her 2009 hit ‘Stone Cold Sober’, Faith appears humble and appreciative of the crowd which is perhaps why she continues to be loved by the nation and doesn’t appear to be stopping any time soon.

Paloma Faith’s The Age of Optimism Summer Tour will continue until August 28th 2022, with many shows in the meantime. If you missed the show at Haydock Racecourse, you can find tickets to her other shows here.

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