Laurie Anderson live – Sensoria 2012

Laurie Anderson’s second appearance of the weekend at Sensoria was in the magnificent ballroom underneath the City Hall. 
It’s not often you get to see a performance in this ornately decorated space, and it’s certainly a rare thing indeed to see a show by Laurie Anderson.  It was exciting to see how full it was, and the near capacity crowd gave her a standing ovation at the end of her performance. 
I’m actually putting off the bit where I write about the show, because it’s almost impossible to adequately describe what it was like.  If I said ‘dreamlike storytelling’, you’d only be part way to understanding how the power of her words combined with a bed of sounds she created – which ranged from barely audible notes to a full blown Tangerine Dream-like soundtrack.  On top of all that, she played her electric violin, sat in an armchair to talk about her dog, showed a short home-video and generally held the audience in total awe.  Her stories ranged from the homespun to the hypnotic, and reflected her fascination with describing aspects of life in America, delivered in a variety of styles, sometimes even filtering and synthesising her own voice. 
This sort of performance is not for everyone I’m sure, but devotees had travelled from all over the country to be here, and this UK premier by such a renowned artist further enhances the reputation of Sheffield.  Well done Sensoria: a triumphant opening night.

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