Live Review: Anne Marie - O2 Academy, Bournemouth 21/05/2019
Returning to the UK after a fortnight in Europe, Anne-Marie kicks off the UK leg of her Speak Your Mind tour in Bournemouth. As the room fills out with men and women from teenage to middle-aged, the anticipation builds for what is bound to be a fun night.
Canadian singer Lennon Stella works through a slick, mature setlist as Anne-Marie’s opening act. Holding the stage with a laid-back confidence, the 19 year old performed with a maturity that far exceeded my expectations. Having starred in ABC’s Nashville for the last 7 years she’s no stranger to the limelight, but she couldn’t be further from her country music star character as she fills Bournemouth’s o2 Academy with her mellow pop.
Mellow is one thing that Anne-Marie is just not. She bursts onto the stage in leather trousers and launches into her latest single, Bad Girlfriend, an almost (but not quite) apologetic letter to a boyfriend she knows she’s not treating right. “These trousers are bloody tight!” she exclaims after her first track, apologising to the photographers as she makes herself a little more comfortable. This seems to be a theme of the evening, as Anne-Marie is so unapologetically herself that she charms everyone in the room.
As videos appear behind her and people explain their idea of ‘perfect’, Anne-Marie takes a breather before performing the empowering Perfect, encouraging her fans to embrace their own version of perfect in the same way she so clearly has. Crowd pleaser Alarm is preceded by Anne-Marie’s tale about an ex-boyfriend who stumbled back to her in Ibiza one night smelling of another girl. She tells the crowd that this is the track that she uses to get all of her anger out, before she kicks her legs around and giggles at her own heartbreaking lyrics.
In the middle of her set, Anne-Marie put the crowd to the ultimate test, as she asked them to sing Rockabye. To my surprise, they did not disappoint. As Anne-Marie stood back, grinned and pointed her microphone into the audience, they belted every word out until she realised no one could quite hit the chorus’ high notes like she could and took over. Sean Paul’s rap was done by someone in the crowd and before the final chorus, Anne-Marie hopped off stage to hug a young girl who was crying. “I just wanted to make sure you were okay!” she says as she clambers back on stage. If there was ever any doubt about how much Anne-Marie loves her fans, this drawn out collaborative version of Rockabye is enough to completely dissipate it.
Not one note has been missed by the incredibly talented Anne-Marie tonight, and the energy in the room tells all about how effortlessly catchy her tracks are, but what shines through more than anything is her personality. She is completely genuine, hilarious and sweet and the love she has for her job and her fans makes her evening of empowering, badass, catchy pop even more unforgettable. After supporting Ed Sheeran on a huge stadium tour last year, it’s no surprise that she’s completely at ease playing to less than 2,000 eager fans in Bournemouth, but I have no doubt that Anne-Marie is bound for bigger venues again before long.
Review and Photography by Megan Smith