Live review: RAYE at NX

One of our Editors review's RAYE at NX...

Madeha Ali
25th March 2024
ImageCredit: Flickr@CARA_BURKE
RAYE recently took Newcastle by storm with her 21st Century Blues Tour, delivering an electrifying performance that left her fans in awe.

Little did the crowd know that the concert would precede her historic night at the BRIT Awards. Last week, the singer broke records by winning the most awards in a single night: Best New Artist, British R&B Act, Song of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Artist of the Year, and British Album of the Year. The excitement in the venue was undeniable as RAYE graced the stage with ‘Oscar-Winning Tears’, unaware of what was awaiting her. 

Despite her chart-topping success, RAYE maintained a down-to-earth demeanour that was incredibly charming. Throughout the show, she repeatedly expressed gratitude for her supporters and took moments to connect with the audience on a personal level. She revealed her desire for the overarching theme of the night to be honesty. In doing so, RAYE invited fans to join her on a journey of authenticity, bridging the gap between performer and audience. 

Another theme the artist wanted to consider was addiction. In a moment of vulnerability, she shared her perspective on the universal experience of wanting something despite its detrimental consequences. This introduction led seamlessly into her poignant song ‘Mary Jane’, a raw and unfiltered exploration of substance abuse. In an interview with Rolling Stone, RAYE highlighted that rappers tend to glamourise the subject “but it’s historically always been gross for a woman to open up about these things, or she gets penalised for it”. RAYE’s decision to sing about such a sensitive topic not only showcased her artistic bravery but also highlighted her dedication to acknowledging the struggles that women in the music industry face.

RAYE’s sweeping success at the BRIT Awards come as no surprise when you delve into the rest of the concert. During the concert, the artist continued to tackle relevant topics. In her performance of ‘Body Dysmorphia’, she bravely addressed her personal struggles with the issue. Her willingness to share vulnerabilities through music left a lasting impact with her supporters. Then there was her rendition of ‘Ice Cream Man’ which echoed similar themes of resilience and courage. In a candid conversation with BBC Radio 1, RAYE described the song as “about being a woman and going through dark things that shouldn’t have to happen for a woman, in this industry, in this life, through experiences”.

Towards the end of the night, RAYE showcased her playful side by announcing that she was going to pretend to leave the stage before her final song, as many artists do to generate excitement. Sticking to the theme of honesty, she asked her audience to chant for one more song whilst she was gone. This lighthearted interaction added a memorable touch to the show and had the crowd riled up for her final hit - the iconic ‘Escapism’, featuring 070 Shake. 

All in all, the performer’s stage presence made the show one to remember. The crowd was captivated and dancing away to the final notes of ‘Escapism’, leaving the venue on a collective high. Given the unmissable enthusiasm of the audience, there is no doubt that Newcastle eagerly awaits the return of RAYE.

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