Conchita Wurst sang at her second European gay pride event in two days last night (Monday, August 10th), when she hit the stage in Prague, Czech Republic to help celebrate Prague Pride. The night before Conchita was in Antwerp, Belgium to celebrate theirs.
And there are a couple of things I’m taking away from the videos and the photographs currently available from Prague Pride.
First, the girl is obviously obsessed with her new contact lenses and, frankly, I don’t blame her. Because while I’ve always loved her natural brown eyes, those Asian-style ‘big eye’ contact lenses look amazing on her, (if I had to guess I’d say she got them on her recent trip to Japan) and the color (green? grey? hard to tell from a photograph) is perfect for her.
As for her performance, from the videos it looks like Conchita sang three songs — ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’, ‘You Are Unstoppable’ and ‘Firestorm‘, but it was ‘Firestorm‘ that was the one I was most interested in seeing.
Because remember what I was saying about her performance of ‘Somebody To Love‘ in Antwerp a couple of days ago being so much richer and more developed than the first time she sang it live? The same applies here with ‘Firestorm‘.
Because her first live performance of ‘Firestorm‘ was at Life Ball in May, and it was a performance that was jagged, she seemed to be off somewhere outside of it, and she made a couple of noticeable mistakes. If you watch the video as well, you’ll see from the minute she begins to walk out to sing it she seems tense and uncomfortable, which is not the usual Conchita on stage at all.
Fast forward to last night, however, (and other performances of the song since Life Ball) and, even in this video with less than stellar sound, you can tell how much more confident she is about the song.
It’s in the way she moves her body, the fact that her smile in the non-lyric sections seems genuine and not sitting stiff at the back of her mouth like it always is when she doesn’t mean it, and that, yet again, she is fully inhabiting this song instead of floating somewhere on top.
And this is what I find fascinating about the way Conchita Wurst makes a song her own. The first time she sings it live, she gives a technically decent performance, but one in which she doesn’t really let herself go (and not always, because she kicked ass with her performance of ‘You Are Unstoppable‘ on its very first outing, but usually).
In fact, the first time she sings a new song she often seems to reign herself in, following the letter of the song so it’s technically proficient, but not allowing much of the emotion to come through. And so the music leads her, instead of her leading it, and that often results in slight mishaps a less controlled Conchita might avoid.
(And before Conchita’s extremely protective fans jump on me for criticizing her, I’m not. I’m saying I find this aspect of her live performances intriguing, as it shows to me how hard she pushes herself to be perfect, how fast she learns, and how much she works to figure out how she wants that song to be).
By the second or third live performance of the same song, though, she’s relaxed as she now has a grasp of the song and how she wants to sing it. (Because, remember, singing a track live on stage in front of hundreds or thousands of people is far, far different than singing it in the studio in front of hardly anyone. But it certainly teaches you how to sing it).
Now, being relaxed automatically makes her voice richer and allows the emotion to come through. And what you get in that performance is the song being sung as if Conchita has truly made it her own. Because, yep, she has. And that’s the way the song will now stay.
Just like last night and her lovely performance of ‘Firestorm’ in Prague. Watch her below.
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- Listen to Engelbert Humperdinck’s ‘Quando, Quando, Quando’ from The Umbrella Academy Season 3 - June 27, 2022