Thursday May 11, 2006

Imogen Heap @ Lakewood Theater, Dallas TX

I think I can sum up Imogen’s performance with the use of a simple infographic:

Photo of my mind being blown

Mind-blowing. I could leave it at that, but I won’t.

The Lakewood Theater was originally a movie theater built in 1938, and has now become a multipurpose entertainment space. It’s furnished in art deco style, and much of it is in its original condition. There was ample seating (which was a nice change from standing), and the theater’s retro, “from-another-time” feel seemed fitting for the artists about to perform that night.

Imogen first came out to introduce Zoe Keating, with whom she’s toured three times now. Zoe is a cellist—or should I say “layered cellist”—because what Zoe does with her cello is pretty amazing. It would be fair to say she actually plays two instruments: cello and sampler. By hand percussion, tapping the bow, plucking, sliding, and generally experimenting with the sounds her cello could make, she sampled sounds live and then looped and manipulated the samples on the fly. It was very beautiful.

After a short break following Zoe’s performance, Imogen took the stage. And by “took the stage” I mean she owned it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone command attention and own an audience so completely. There was no trace of jitters, shyness or that distanced “cool rock star” vibe you’ve undoubtedly felt from the rockstars du jour. She came onstage with a number of items including an oversized flower and a stuffed toucan (the toucan would repeat back anything you said to it, an ability Imogen shared with us on more than one occasion during the show), and just talked for a while. The items were souvenirs from various truck stops she’d “visited.” After placing them around the stage, she introduced us to her “band,” which cheekily consisted of her keyboards, keytar, sampler, etc. She is a peppy, unafraid and very personable individual, and it’s no wonder why her fans love her so much.

The opening song was “Just For Now” sung a capella over backing vocals which she sampled and looped live. I was afraid that she wouldn’t be able to live up to the extraordinarily layered and rich textures of the recorded material, but this and other songs which were delivered in a stripped-down style were absolutely mind-blowing. Even “Clear The Area”—which I regret is not one of my favorite songs—became a whole new, glorious animal when delivered with this alternate, raw treatment. Zoe Keating joined Imogen for “Goodnight and Go” and the amazing “Speeding Cars.” Immi even dipped into older material, performing the enormously crowd-pleasing “Let Go” from her days with Frou Frou, and a beautiful rendition of “Come Here Boy” from her first album.

All in all, it was clearly a mind-blowing evening. I’m so glad the show was moved from the Gypsy Tea Room. There’s no way it would have been enjoyable in that tiny space. This show was absolutely sold out, with people walking up and down the line outside with signs asking for tickets. But you still have a chance to catch this show if you want. I suggest that you do.


View my photos of the show on Flickr.

Completely non-sequential and potentially incomplete setlist:

  • Just For Now
  • Goodnight and Go
  • Come Here Boy
  • Have You Got It In You?
  • Speeding Cars
  • Loose Ends
  • Let Go
  • Headlock
  • The Walk
  • Clear The Area
  • Hide and Seek


  • Daylight Robbery
  • The Moment I Said It


JAbbott » 5609 days ago #

I had wanted to go to this show but couldn’t work out my schedule for a mid-week concert. Reading your review makes me wish I had tried harder.

I was at the Lakewood Theater a couple weeks ago for the Blue October/People In Planes show and and you’re right – it is a very cool venue.

Andrew » 5608 days ago #

I’ve just discovered Imogen Heap – one of the tracks in The Chronicles Of Narnia – The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe is by her (and it’s awesome). The track is called I Can’t Take It In, can you tell me if her other material is like this? – Andrew

Jared Christensen » 5608 days ago #

JAbbott – I know what you mean. I discovered long ago that my love for live music makes me forget about pesky details like how much sleep I’ll miss when I go to these things. ;)

Andrew – “Can’t Take It In” is pretty repesentative of some of Imogen’s music. I say “pretty representative” because it’s kind of hard to pin down one song that really captures her range. But I’d say that if you like that song, you’d probably like her other songs as well.

sem kim » 5608 days ago #

man haven’t had any of movie or play or any kind of leisure these days. what a life.. _ thanks at least i could picture what was like. finally i’m going this weekend :)

by the way, after i press ‘Tab’ from URL input box, it moves to ‘Preview’ not to comment textarea.

Jared Christensen » 5606 days ago #

sem kim – You have to make time for play and leisure. Otherwise you become uncreative and start growing hair in unnatural places. ;)

The tab problem is a known Textpattern issue. I need to get under the hood and fix that.

bmelton » 5583 days ago #

I am really gonna miss that fish. I really like the overall design, but the fish was just… perfection.

Alex » 5581 days ago #

Ah, Imogen Heap (Frou Frou)... She lives next door to me. Booyah. Used to play at my local venue in London, but (not surprisingly) hasn’t been there in a bit. Lucky me…

josue salazar » 5574 days ago #

Jared, I wish I would’ve been there. Great review of the concert as well.

BTW, I thought I had commented when I first read this a month ago.

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