I love listening to live music on the radio because, without the distraction of watching the artist sing, I get to hear the music. If it’s a good radio concert, it can be a magical experience, something Eurovision Song Contest winner Conchita Wurst delivered last night during her live performance for ‘Ein Abend für Licht ins Dunkel‘ on ORF.
For me, someone who adores Conchita Wurst, yet someone who is hard on her as I know what she is capable of, this performance was up there with her best. In fact, I’d have to go as far as saying as close to ‘perfection’ as I want her to go.
Let me explain.
Anyone who knows Conchita Wurst knows she is harder on herself than I could possibly ever be. Always worrying about disappointing, she works hard to deliver, for her fans and for herself. Most of the time she does, occasionally her performance could have been better, but I’ve never once heard her give a performance where I haven’t been amazed at the power of her voice, or loved her even more than just minutes before.
Conchita Wurst has a one in a many millions voice because, unlike some singers who are auto-tuned out of all reality, what she can deliver on a recorded track, she can sing even better live. Because it’s live, without the recording studio manipulation, where you hear just how good she is — imperfections and all. It’s those imperfections, and the emotions flooding from her that come with them, that make her voice so beautiful.
So we come to Conchita Wurst singing live at ‘Ein Abend für Licht ins Dunkel‘. Three songs – ‘Rise Like a Phoenix‘, her new single ‘Heroes‘, and her version of “My Lights“.
She started the set with ‘Rise“, a new piano arrangement, and one that’s stripped down from the massive orchestral number we’re used to. It’s simple, it’s emotional and the quiet ending, different than those enormous high notes we normally get, is gorgeous. It’s the Edith Piaf version of ‘Rise Like a Phoenix‘ as, whereas the usual orchestral arrangement is when you know she’s transcended past pain, this one just leaves you feeling sad. As for Conchita’s voice, yes, she’s spectacular on the high notes, but the quiet notes are what will touch your heart. And her voice on that final ‘flame’? Now that’s someone you wish was in love with you.
‘Heroes‘ came next, and this was my favorite. An orchestral arrangement with a dominant piano, it begins with a gorgeous introduction and then Conchita’s voice. Again, because you can hear her even more clearly with only the piano and then the strings, you feel every emotion, and that ‘raw’ quality her voice has live is beautiful here. That she hits every note so clearly adds to this spectacular number and, if you want to fall in love with her just a little bit more, watch the video recorded live from the audience (below) and look for that cheeky smile at the end. She knows she rocked it.
Conchita’s final song was the “My Lights” track from the ‘Licht ins Dunkel‘ charity album. Not one of my favorite songs, honestly, but a song I have liked because she sings it. It’s her weakest number here (if that’s what you can call it, as ‘weak’ should never really be in the same sentence as Conchita or her spectacular voice), as it’s not really her song. She more than does it justice, however.
Here, you feel the emotion in the quieter moments, and the final line “the past is gone”, showcases how she can hit high notes live like only a few other singers can. A gorgeous ending to a trio of truly spectacular performances.
All in all, my lovely Ms. Wurst, (I think I should be changing my honorific for you from now on to ‘my lovely Ms. Weltstar’) that’s one of the best live performances you’ve ever given. Then again, I don’t need to tell you that.
NOTE: On the video below, Conchita begins to sing at 4:10. I’ve had to embed the whole segment, rather than start the video at 4:10, due to coding problems when it comes to getting it to size correctly for iPhones and tablets. Sorry for the inconvenience.