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LIVE: SARAH BRIGHTMAN – December 15, 2021

| 18 December 2021 | Reply

Venue: Ruth Eckerd Hall

City: Clearwater, FL

Date: December 15, 2021

Review and Photographs by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur (

It always amazes me the diverse crowds that attend certain shows and performances, with the recent Sarah Brightman tour stop in Clearwater, FL being no different.  Whether you showed up to Ruth Eckerd Hall for the spectacle that is world’s best-selling soprano, to see a lavish show full of beautiful costumes, to ease back and enjoy one of the lushest and pleasing vocalists touring, or simply to hear some of the biggest songs to have launched in our lifetime, you left satisfied.  If more than one of the above were on your list for the evening, you left with a smile on your face, a song in your head, and a warm sensation around your heart.  Full disclosure — to see Sarah Brightman live has been a bucket list item for me after my first listen through the Phantom soundtrack and enhanced with every release of hers through the years, especially Symphony and Dreamchaser.  The swirl of classic tracks from her catalog as well as seasonal favorites made this evenings Christmas Symphony show one for the ages that I and a sold-out audience will not forget any time soon.  Without any delay, Brightman’s entourage of band, symphony, and choir took their respective places on stage and took us through “Ave Maria” before shifting gears to “Better Is One Day” which found Ms. Brightman center stage draped in a beautiful gown that reflected light and enhanced the visual while her vocal enchanted us.  With brief banter between tracks, the show was perfectly timed and choreographed to maximize Sarah’s stage time as she entertained and pleased with song after song and beautiful costumes tossed into the mix.  After a one-two punch of “Walking in the Air” and “Oh Holy Night” – the former a duet between Brightman and Narcis and the latter a transition piece that allowed Narcis to sing while Brightman shifted into the first of many costume changes of the evening.  After a rousing version of “Hijo de la Luna” “Follow Me,” the second of five tracks from Brightman’s latest release Hymn hits the set.  There was plenty for everyone to enjoy as the set worked its way to the intermission with more seasonal music and a choral display during “Coventry Carol,” as well as a couple of my personal favorites from the singer’s catalog “Winter Light” and “Nessun Dorma.”

The second set kicked off with two more selections from the 2018 release with the titular track “Hymn” being followed by “Sogni,” which featured a duet with singer Jay Dref.  After a couple holiday classics featuring Narcis and Dref were sandwiched in the set, one of the more poignant moments of the evening hit when guitarist Gunther Laudahn joined Ms. Brightman for “Colder Than Winter.”  After several more tracks, the one song it seemed everyone came to see, and one of the original moments in my love for Sarah’s music arrived, when the opening strands of “Phantom of the Opera” worked their way through the venues sound system.  The next song up paired with this classic was one of the best couplings in a live show I have heard in years as “Time To Say Goodbye” helped close out the show, with exception of the encore of “Amazing Grace” and “Happy Christmas (War Is Over).”  While I didn’t hear my all-time favorite Sarah Brightman track, this set was damn near perfect and gave me a huge check on the concert bucket list.  That all-time track?  It wouldn’t have been the same anyway unless Paul Stanley himself showed up to help deliver “I Will Be With You (Where The Lost Ones Go).”  With just a few dates left on this leg of the tour, if you are in the south region, grab a ticket and witness the magic of Sarah Brightman’s Symphony Christmas tour.

SETLIST: Ave Maria – Better Is One Day – Walking in the Air – Oh Holy Night – Hijo de la Luna – Follow Me – Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring – Coventry Carol – Winter Light – Arrival – Goat Lullaby – Nessun Dorma – Hymn – Sogni – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Carol Of The Bells – Colder Than Winter – Silent Night – I Believe in Father Christmas – Pie Jesu – The Nutcracker – Masquerade – Phantom of the Opera – Time To Say Goodbye – Amazing Grace – Happy Christmas (War Is Over)








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Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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