By Esmée Colbourne
The Vogue Theatre
January 12th, 2019
Lovely East London singer NAO, aka Neo Joshua, packed the Vogue up to the nosebleeds.
Every element of the show felt directed at Joshua’s fans. The show started with an instrumental from her first-rate, all male band and a blue glow – a perfect distraction to allowed NAO to head into the centre of the crowd, erupt from it with a spotlight and create mass excitement with opening song ‘Another Lifetime.’ More surprises followed: glowing white balloons (a symbol from the Saturn album) that were floating in a bunch on the side of the stage were given to the audience. A good idea in theory, in practice it meant lost ones were floating high up, dangerously close to lights.
Interestingly, Joshua paused a lot during the show, but it didn’t affect the performance. She had a really great rapport with her audience, giving us insight into her love of D’Angelo and the creation of ‘Inhale Exhale,’ and letting us empathise with her about finding her inner goddess with help from her grandma. Her dialogues also allowed us to transition emotionally from songs such as ‘A Life Like This’ into dance tracks like ‘Complicated.’
NAO’s friendly demeanor, exciting approach to R&B, and vocal prowess bundled us with intimacy and coziness. The show’s balanced set list, and NAO’s acts of kindness and engagement with the audience made a large difference to what normally feels like a one-sided, staged interaction. Everyone left her show buzzing, lighter in their hearts, with smiles on their faces.Nao, The Vogue Theatre