This Lissie article was written by Steven Loftin, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Hazel Webster. Photographs by Steve Gerrard.
Saturday December 5th, 2015 will be one of those days that people will be talking about for a while. The extreme weather situation disrupted most of the North’s travel systems and resulted in flooding for most of Cumbria. Somewhere on the rail system in the North of our fair country, American songwriting dream girl Lissie was desperately trying to make tonight’s show. Posting periodic updates on Twitter informing us of her location and searching for potential lifts, it’s hard to imagine the struggle when something is so out of your hands.
The atmosphere at the venue never drew near boredom, it was more an air of anticipation. Instead of people leaving, the crowd continued to grow gradually. No one was passing up the chance to see Lissie, especially on a small solo tour.
With an announcement just before 10pm, she’s minutes from the station and will come straight here and then straight on stage, she’ll be allowed to do her full set. As the crowd grew steadily still, coming to a head around 22:10, there was a small hive of activity on the stage. Initial support act Ryan O’Reilly came on with guitar in hand and some cables, he briefly tested the microphone by informing us “Desmond’s a bit of a prick” before getting the equipment set up which was in fact for Lissie, who took to the stage at 22:22 after having made a triumphant sprint from the train station to the venue. She admitted to having had a “wee cry” in the dressing room, which let’s face it, we’ve all had to do at some point after travelling at pace, before gathering herself then appearing on stage to rapturous applause. We all knew the scenario and to why this event had slipped deathly near cancellation grounds, but it was neither her fault or decision that led to this and for the sheer effort she went through to get here and perform, that alone made the extended wait worth it.
Raising a perfectly filled wine glass, announcing “Cheers!”, drinking a healthy amount and then opening straight with debut album ‘Catching a Tiger’ cut ‘Bully’, minus the time, you would have had no idea this was such a rushed affair. Her voice was flawlessly perfect, certainly if she was flustered on the inside, there wasn’t even a glimmer of this on the outside. It was the same beautifully dark voice that we’ve come to adore, reminiscent of Stevie Nicks, though a cliche comparison this is, it’s just too apt.
The second song was a brief, final moment of frustration for Lissie. Around the second chorus her guitar cut out from the front of house system leaving her vocals soaring higher above the guitar which was barely audible at the rear of the venue. Without missing a single note she carried on singing, taking her guitar off, letting out a ferocious scream and carrying the song on, with complete and utter professionalism, a cappella . This may have seemed unjust to us through Lissie’s eyes but it was quite the contrary. The power and ability of her voice was accentuated, with nothing fighting for space in the metaphysical sound scape, we heard absolutely every note and accent in the final chorus. It was a perfect accident. The crowd took up the space of a beat, clapping in perfect harmony, at the end the applause somehow managed to seem like the crowd had doubled in number.
Clearly feeling the affects of both the days events and this recent mishap, while waiting for her technical equipment to be sorted she asked us how we’re all doing before taking off her shoes, reuniting with her guitar, proclaiming “Cheers!” one more time to then completely down another glass of red wine before carrying on with the show.
Though the events before and during the show were far from ideal in any scenario, the performance was untouchable and her commitment to both her fans and career is undeniable. The rest of the show went off without a hitch, Lissie only growing comfortably in releasing the stress, giving us absolutely everything she had left, and a little bit more. Nothing was stopping Lissie performing in Manchester tonight, not even Desmond … the prick.