Ed Harcourt in Singapore

The Englishman is mad.

And a genius. Talent explosion at the Esplanade Recital Studio last night. I was watching his fingers on the keys the whole time, trying not to cry.

Wish you were there to take in all the madness with me.

This review by Yong Shu Hoong summed up the night:

Lustrous troubadour – Ed Harcourt

If you think that fatherhood has mellowed British singer-songwriter Ed Harcourt, as his latest album Lustre might lead you to believe, his 100-minute solo performance would convince you that he’s still a brooding troubadour with much fiery passion left in his belly.

After opening with the optimistic title track inspired by the birth of his daughter, he impressed enthusiastic fans in the packed Esplanade Recital Studio with skilled musicianship that switched effortlessly from the grand piano to acoustic and electric guitars.

His versatile voice ascended from husky lows to pitch-perfect high notes as he delivered a stripped-down but emotionally-charged mixture of older and more recent tracks. The programme that included Apple of My Eye, Church of No Religion and Those Crimson Tears was topped off by a four-song encore, with Harcourt fulfilling requests for songs like Black Dress and Haywired.

Things, however, didn’t always go as planned. When his guitar couldn’t be amplified at one point, he decided to do an intimate unplugged version of The Last Cigarette, while wandering around the audience like a busker – which turned out to be a highlight of the evening.

He swore in mock annoyance when someone asked him to hurry up with his guitar tuning, and forgot his lyrics on Bittersweetheart and Shanghai. Other surprises he sprang included prompting the audience to howl like wolves on Heart of a Wolf and to sing along on Born in the ’70s with the line, “We don’t really give a f*** about you!”

Perhaps Harcourt himself summed up the gig best: “It’s an equal balance of chaos and professionalism.”

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