Sunday, May 30, 2010

Imogen Heap: Live At The Warner Theatre In Washington DC

On May 29, 2010, Imogen Heap played at the Warner Theatre in Washington DC as part of the sixth leg of her Ellipse tour.  Ellipse, her third album, saw commercial success in 2009 reaching #5 on the US Billboard charts.  The album was later nominated for multiple Grammys, giving Ellipse the title of "Best Engineered Non-Classical Album".  Imogen Heap is known for her use of technology and unique instruments to create one of a kind electronic music.  When I got tickets on the day before the show, I knew I was in for a treat.

The show didn't focus on only her newest album, Ellipse.  Imogen played a range of songs from all of her albums including her work in the electronic duo, Frou Frou.  The set started with "The Walk", from Speak For Yourself.  It was an amazing opener, and started the show on a high note.  She then continued with a block of songs from Ellipse including "Swoon", "First Train Home", and "Wait It Out".  The majority of Ellipse was heard.  It was also great to see her play a select few from her debut album, I Megaphone.

For every show on this leg of the tour, Imogen is playing a completely improvised song.  She asked the crowd what key the song should be in and whether it should be fast or slow.  After much debate from the audience, she wound up playing a very melodic ambient piece based on the piano.  After every show, the improv piece will be available as a charity download.  Here's a list off the current available downloads. The proceeds will go to a local organization.

In between songs, Imogen talked with the audience and explained the stories behind each song.  The crowd participation was at an all time high during "Just For Now".  She separated the entire venue into three sections and had each one sing part of her layered voices from the recording.  This performance used no music at all, only Imogen and the choir-like audience.

Loops were a major element of the performance.  Imogen would record her voice, or any other instrument or obscure sound, and loop it on repeat.  She would continue doing this until she had an entire band, consisting only of her own doings, behind her.  Watching her during this process was incredibly fascinating.

One of the many highlights of the show was "Tidal".  Imogen explained that it was her absolute favorite song to perform live, and now I know why.  The song took full advantage of the stage lights, creating a more "rock concert" feel.  She ended the song with an extended keytar solo.  After "Tidal", the band left the stage and she played two more songs.  "The Moment I Said It" and "Hide And Seek" closed the show.  During "Hide And Seek", she asked once again for the crowd's participation for the bridge of the song.  Once she finished the final song, she took a bow and the show ended.

Imogen is an extremely active artist on Twitter.  When I read a tweet on the social networking site that she frequently talks to fans after the show, I knew I had to wait for her.  After the show, I waited behind the venue at the stage exit.  I waited for about an hour when she came out and talked with the fans.  She signed my Ellipse shirt and stayed for some pictures.  It was an unbelievable experience, and she was as kind as you could ever imagine.

The concert was even better than I could have expected.  The setlist was nearly twenty songs, and the opening acts Ben Christophers and Geese, both part of her band, were great.  If Imogen Heap ever comes to your city, I strongly recommend you go see her.  The show will make you sing, dance, and even laugh.  You can go here for a list of upcoming tour dates.


  1. Hey! I found this review on ibabble and I remember seeing your face while waiting for Immi! Wonderful review :)

  2. @Ambervee

    I believe I remember seeing you there too. The show was great. Meeting Imogen was completely amazing.

  3. Nice review. This was a great show. I too thought "the concert was even better than I could have expected" and my expectations were also pretty high. Don't miss her if you have any chance to get to a show.