With Gavin James
American Airlines Arena, Miami
Monday, July 20, 2015
While the rest of Miami twerked it up with Nicki Minaj and the Pinkprint Tour crew at the Bayfront Park Amphitheatre last night, the Magic City’s hopeless romantics, well around 20,000 of ’em, gathered at American Airlines Arena for a night of love songs, heartbreak, and British two-step action with Sam Smith.
As the crowd — comprised of couples who dragged their boyfriends out to the AAA with them, tweens captivated by Smith’s lyrics, and overall lovers — eagerly awaited the English crooner to take the stage, up-and-coming Irish singer-songwriter Gavin James set the vibe with an acoustic set. He even dedicated a song to Miami.
A 25-minute set and a 40-minute wait later, the lights went off. Smith’s echo reverberated across the arena in darkness. After teasing fans a bit more, the smiling singer and his band were unveiled from behind black curtains onstage and kicked off the show with “Life Support.”
“Miami, how you doing?” Smith said in his charming English accent, as he went on to sing “Together.” “I can’t fucking believe I did this! It’s such an amazing experience to go somewhere you’ve never been before. Just like every English holiday, I got sunburned, but I fucking love it!"
Sam Smith took Miami to "Nirvana."
Photo by Laurie Charles
Smith’s “amazing experience” may have come with massive sunburn, but he wasn’t fazed by his lobster-red skin. In fact, he kept smiling all night. But with a slew of awards to his name, including four Grammys, and a debut arena tour despite having only one full-length album, In the Lonely Hour, under his belt, Smith has reason to smile. Sunburn and all.
After his performance of “Leave Your Lover” and his smash hit “I’m Not the Only One,” Smith revealed yet another reason why he couldn’t wipe that grin off his face.
“Three months ago, I had vocal surgery,” he shared. “This is my first tour back officially. I love touring for two reasons. Number one, the most magical, is singing. Number two, I have the opportunity to talk about my album," which he openly did throughout the night.
“I know this album is a bit depressing, but for me, it’s a huge breakthrough for myself,” the lover boy went on. “It was the first time I got to be myself and be honest.”
In the Lonely Hour may have only ten tracks on its standard edition, but there were no gaps or forced chatter in between the hour-and-a-half set. Smith, his trio of background singers, and band – a keyboardist, cellist, drummer, guitarist, and bassist – kept the night flowing smoothly.
A few numbers into the night, including “Like I Can,” “Restart,” and covers of Amy Winehouse's 2006 track "Tears Dry on Their Own," Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s 1967 hit “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” and Chic’s 1978 single “Le Freak," a grand piano took center stage.
For his rendition of “Not in That Way,” Smith told his fans he wanted to perform it the way it was intended, with nothing but his voice, the piano, and cello. It was heartfelt. It was emotional. It was sad.
Sam Smith may sing about love and heartbreak, but homeboy was all smiles last night.
Photo by Laurie Charles
While the pop star joked that all of his songs are about breakups and heartache, the singer went on to sing “the only [song] on [his] record that isn’t about love” but more about the value of music and its importance, “Money on My Mind.” Before he got the entire arena to join him, he explained the song was inspired by someone he once worked with whom he felt was in it just for the money, not for the artistry of the music.
Smith kept the momentum going flawlessly and naturally throughout the evening, topping off the night with his biggest hits – the acoustic version of “Latch,” “Make It to Me,” and “Stay With Me” – and a huge thanks.
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“Miami, these were the best days ever. Thank you truly from the heart.”
Judging from the success and flawlessness of his first-ever arena tour, Smith is in for one hell of a career.
Sam Smith's Set List
- "Life Support"
- "Together" featuring Nile Rodgers, Disclosure, and Jimmy Napes
- "Leave Your Lover"
- "I'm Not the Only One"
- "I've Told You Now"
- "Tears Dry on Their Own," Amy Winehouse cover/ “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough," Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell cover/ "Le Freak," Chic cover
- "Not In That Way"/ "Can't Help Falling In Love," Elvis Presley cover
- "Lay Me Down"
- "La La La" featuring Naughty Boy
- "Money on My Mind"
- "Latch" (acoustic) featuring Disclosure
- "Make It to Me"
- "Stay With Me"