Alicia Keys : Toronto Sears Theatre
Keys launches into 'Rock Wit U'. The inverse ratio of action to energy is quite startling.More on
As a ordinary supporting cast take their places - including a small rapper or stage jester who looks as if he just fell off Slipknot's turnip truck - Keys launches into 'Rock Wit U'. The inverse ratio of action to energy is quite startling. When she does some silly skits with a cellphone during 'How Come You Don't Call Me' or tries to work the stage she is utterly vulnerable, losing much of her charisma, and it's apparent she's still getting her performance feet wet. But when she's stationary behind her keyboard, she's captivating.
"I'll be right back, I got to make a costume change," she says, before swapping her black leather beret for the more recognisable fedora. It isn't until the last third of her 75-minute set that the 5,000 or so onlookers see her full potential, teasing the audience with the opening notes of 'Fallin'.
She ends the evening with a brief encore before heading offstage to rapturous applause. There's a way to go yet, but with such a strong start the future bodes well for this unique talent.
To read all our reviews first - days before they appear online - check out NME magazine, on sale every Wednesday