H.E.R (simply pronounced, ‘her’) is the Californian singer-songwriter who over the last few
years has amassed fame in the R&B world for her strong vocals over atmospheric beats. The
final night of her sold-out UK Tour saw her in the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire (one of three London dates) where she took to the stage in front of an audience of loyal fans.
Opening the show was Tiara Thomas who, despite not having a huge global audience, is
more recognised for being prominent circa 2013 when she featured on a few tracks by
known rappers. With bubblegum pink hair and a bubbly persona, she bounced around the
stage as she played music from her latest album that she was plugging incessantly, which
whilst got a bit repetitive at the time I now know the title like it was my own initials (FWMM, in
case you were wondering).
No doubt, everyone loves a bit of nostalgia, so her acoustic rendition of Bad (that she
featured on with rapper Wale) was particularly well received. As someone who isn’t a fan of
live-acoustic renditions, I was pleasantly surprised as it was a real display of her vocal talent
and the power in her voice.
The audience was well warmed up at this point so by the time that H.E.R came on and
opened with Say It Again, everyone was pretty captivated and she immediately filled the
grandly decorated theatre with mellow beats and strong vocals. The stage setting was fairly
simple and mainly used lighting to build up an aura around her that felt similar to her album
covers and in keeping with her ‘mysterious’ aesthetic. She was backlit for the most part so it
felt in keeping with how she comes across in the public eye. Owing to the stage being so low
and the theatre not being on a slope, it was pretty difficult to actually see her for the most
part so whether it was intentional that the audience was supposed to leave feeling like she
was still a fairly hidden figure or not was hard to tell.
Her connection with the audience was apparent from the beginning and the audience
seemed to be very familiar with her whole discography as she played tunes from HER
volumes 1, 2 and 3 including Facts and Focus. One particularly memorable moment was
when she paused to tell the ‘story’ (less of a story, more of a long sentence) of a studio
encounter with none other than Daniel Caesar, of course then going on to sing Best Part.
Whilst this was a brilliant rendition, the downside of the poor visibility onto the stage meant
that for a solid 50% of the song a large portion of the standing audience thought that the
male vocalist was in fact the man himself. Naturally, when one person screamed the whole
crowd started to lose their shit but needless to say, it was not him and on further inspection
looked absolutely nothing like him.
One of the last and best moments was when she took to the stage on her own with a guitar
and did a rendition of L.O.V.E by Kendrick Lamar, as we truly got to see what an incredible
vocalist she really is and appreciate her talent on a different level. Despite her asking the
audience to sing along and clearly no-one knowing the words, it was nice to see her sitting
solo on the stage and really showcase herself and her talent - a great way to end the show.