One of the grandest and most prestigious venues in the world played host to Streets of London‘s annual Christmas charity gig, headlined by patron Ellie Goulding. SoL are a fantastic charity, truly. Through unique concert experiences, they raise awareness and huge amounts of funds in support of those homeless throughout the capital. Now, more than ever, they are a vital cause within London.
Joining Ellie was Bastille’s Dan Smith (vocals, piano) and Will Farquarson (vocals, guitar), Craig David, George Ezra, James Blunt, Jessie Ware, Ray BLK, Raye and Tom Odell. All of which performed at least two songs each, Odell opened the night with a piano rendition of ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ setting the stage for a fstive night of talent . Ray BLK followed with a shout out to all of her fellow south Londoners, George Ezra sang the wildly popular ‘Budapest’ whilst wearing a Christmas jumper, Raye delivered an acoustic version of her latest single ‘Decline’. Bastille’s Dan and Will were next up with the first ever live performance of their new track ‘World Gone Mad’, Craig David brought us an acapella version of ‘Fill Me In’ between two of his latest singles, one featuring Bastille’s Dan also. Jessie Ware dominated the hall with touching renditions of ‘Say You’ll Love Me’ and ‘Sam’, followed by James Blunt, who’s wit isn’t limited just to Twitter, playing ‘the song you guys actually know’ – ‘Goodbye My Lover’.
After a brief interval, Ellie Goulding took to the stage. Ellie is a longstanding patron of SoL, having headlined it’s Christmas fundraiser in past years. Goulding curated this evening, it’s safe to say she has impeccable taste. She had also invited singer Rationale to perform, however with him unable to make it, Goulding performed a special version of his track ‘Tethered’. Ellie owned the stage with her huge presence and energy, her show felt more befitting an arena than the Royal Albert Hall; the audience loved every minute. Her 11 track set spanned her entire career, including ‘Burn’, ‘Army’, ‘Love Me Like You Do’ and her latest release, her own version of ‘O Holy Night’. The evening concluded with Goulding inviting all available performers on stage for a group choral rendition of Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’. No one was really prepared for this, it felt like you were singing it with your mates and no one knew which part to take- except these guys can actually sing. With the Royal Albert Hall singing it back to them, James Blunt and Dan Smith had a little bit of a duet, Ellie lead Raye to centre stage to sing alongside her and ended the night in style.
While the music was incredible, it’s important to remember why we were in attendance last night. As said by Ellie, ‘Homelessness in London remains as much of a problem as ever. The number of people sleeping rough here has doubled in the last six years and increased by 170% in the last decade. It’s as important as ever that these people are able to access the right support, so they can escape the damaging effects of life on the streets.’ We were lucky enough to head to this gig and know we had a warm bed waiting for us at home. It’s something we take massively for granted. This festive season spare a thought for Streets of London or local homelessness charities and causes in your area.