SAN FRANCISCO — English singer-songwriter Jessie Ware has a great memory. At her sold-out show at the Independent Wednesday, Ware accurately recounted a story from a previous show in the city, all the way back in 2013. Back at that concert, she was so sick—by then a customary tradition every time she visits the Bay Area—that she had to be wheeled out to an ambulance afterward. Fans saw her, and one yelled, “That’s how you leave a Jessie Ware concert!”
Ware also found herself ill at Wednesday’s show. Still, she powered through a 70-minute set of fan favorites and songs off her new album, Glasshouse.
“You guys have always been good to me,” she told a crowd that was packed to a point beyond being able to move on the main floor, and, in spots, three people deep on the balcony. For a performer who’s headlined The Fillmore and sold out the Chapel, the smaller Independent was an intimate setting, bringing her even closer to her adoring, but very respectful, fans. While her uplifting electronic pop differs greatly from the music of someone like Julien Baker, both have fans who will stop what they’re doing and just listen.
After opening with “Thinking About You,” “Running” and “Your Domino,” all new tracks, she transitioned to “Want Your Feeling,” off 2014’s “Tough Love,” as well as that album’s title track. Another new track, “Alone,” followed. The set, was heavy on the new material and showed Jessie Ware completely in her element, even when she turned into a 1940s lounge singer on “Selfish Love.”
She saved most of the older material, the fan favorites, for later in the set. Those included her 2012 breakout, “If You’re Never Gonna Move” and “Wildest Moments.” In between songs, she chatted with the crowd, pointed out specific fans, signed a record for one of them, and brought a fan onto the stage to sing a cover of Bobby Caldwell’s “What You Won’t Do for Love” in a completely impromptu moment, after recounting a story about a previous experience where a drunk fan demanded to sing with her. While the fan didn’t know all the words, he sang in key. The rest of the crowd helped him out.
Ware finished the set with the intimate new song “Sam,” co-written by Ed Sheeran, about her husband, Sam Burrows, and her child. It was a touching moment in an evening of varied emotions.
— Roman Gokhman
Follow photographer Kate Vides at Instagram.com/kay.jay.imagery.