The name Rita Ora wouldn’t have pricked up as many ears just twelve months ago as it does now, but after a colourful year, the singer with the immediately recognisable shock of white blonde curly hair has seen her star firmly in the ascendancy.
She’s sold millions of songs, sold out her first tour and will appear in Fast & Furious 6, and while the first two continue to happen and Ora continues to bring infectious pop with an attitude to packed houses, we can probably forgive the second part.
Her Radioactive tour has only just kicked off, and we were lucky enough to catch her appearance at the Newcastle Academy, which was long sold-out with fans hoping to get their first glimpse of the RIP singer live.
And though there is nothing to fault Ora’s conviction on stage or her vocal performance, the only thing that costs her points in this review is the shoddy nature of her entrance, marred somewhat by the Doctor Who quality stage apparatus that housed her. Locked in a transparent box with the word ‘Quarantine’ emblazoned above her head, Ora appears to burst into Radioactive, but there’s no shaking the feeling that the production values just don’t match the quality of her voice of this particular polished tune.
Thankfully, that thought never enters the mind again as Ora makes her way through her chart-topping debut album, a poppy triumph that swings through genres with ease, and changes tone almost every song. The greatest problem in this live situation should have been the way the songs were knitted together to cope with those jarring changes, and thankfully, it was never a problem.
Ora’s performance is as polished as her songs, she is charismatic and composed and her enthusiasm is irresistible, particularly when she waxes lyrical about her idol Biggie Smalls, to whom she owes her most infectious chorus on “How We Do (Party).” That is a high-point, as the crowd clearly takes its enthusiastic message to heart, but she is just as irresistible when the tone shifts down and she takes to her “garden of love” at the side of the stage and chooses an audience member to sing “Hello, Hi, Goodbye” to on stage.
Singing her way through her already excellent catalogue, Ora cuts a hugely impressive figure – she is part Rihanna without the negative aspects of her swagger, part Alicia Keys (particularly obvious on “Fair”) and part something else entirely. She is an amalgamation of everything that works for female solo singers at the minute, and while that might seem cynically planned, the package is more than good enough to justify the means.
Her second album and subsequent shows might be more focused, but this first go is an exceptional start for Ora, and an entrancing spectacle for her fans.
Gallery: Crowd Photos
Photo Credit: Lou Bennison
Gig attended: Newcastle O2 Academy
This article was first posted on February 8, 2013