I quite admire and respect Imogen Heap. She's pretty universally recognized as an exceptionally talented musician and an accomplished songwriter, but she's also an excellent storyteller and a visionary technologist who uses her position as a Pop star to share her ideas and interests with others, challenging and inspiring audiences wherever she goes.
Heap made a stop at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto on May 17th 2019 as part of her Mycelia World Tour, and it was equal parts musical performance, TedXTalk, and an advanced class in musical futurism. Heap played a set of songs that spanned her entire career, perfect Pop songs that resonated and instantly connected with her audience, all shared with stories and reflections that added a greater context and details making them even more enjoyable. As mentioned, Heap is an excellent storyteller, and her ability to spin a tale and engage with her audience is truly impressive, creating a warm and intimate space to share with her fans. To be honest I'd be happy just to hear her talk about stuff and things even if she wasn't playing music...
Throughout the show Heap wore her Mi.Mu Gloves, literally pulling songs out of the air while explaining and demonstrating how they work, and in the back of my mind I couldn't help wondering if maybe she lives ten years ahead of everybody else, traveling back to the past every so often to leave us with songs and gifts and ideas to help us shape the future. Or maybe she's just really ahead of the curve, that may be more likely now that I really consider it, but I still like to think of her as some kind of time traveler with a desire to make the world a better place.
She talked about music and networks and opportunities, and it was all really very engaging, and of course she played a number of songs that were all really great, including a bunch of tracks by Frou Frou which made a lot of sense given that Guy Sigsworth was part of her band. As far as I know, Frou Frou never toured in North America so I never had the chance to see those songs live until then, and I'm happy to say that they were just as blissful and dream-y as I had hoped that they would be.
Speaking of the band, Zoe Keating played cello on this tour, and of course it's always nice to hear Keating perform, even if my seat was positioned at exactly the worst angle to be able to see what she was doing. It's alright though, I could hear her playing and that was enough to make me happy.
Speaking of making me happy, Heap and the band played Breathe In, and First Train Home, and Tiny Human, and I spent most of the show smiling from ear to ear. She played a new version of Hide and Seek that she had reworked for the Harry Potter musical, and in a nod to Ariana Grande's cover version she did a nice mash up/remix of Goodnight and Go to close out the night.
All in all it was a great show, a solidly entertaining evening of music and stories. But it was more than just that, because it was also a showcase for new ideas, for new ways of thinking, and for new inspiration. Imogen Heap is a visionary, a futurist, potentially a time traveler, and hearing her speak about the possibilities inherent in music and art I couldn't help but be intrigued and interested by her ideas. She has a vision for a bright future for all of us and I hope that one day we'll all get to live in that bright future with her...