“Sublime” and “angels fallen from heaven” are just two of the descriptions used by Leonard Cohen when The Webb Sisters accompanied him on tour as backing singers on his 2008-2010 world tour. Having being moved to tears by their excellent performances with him I relished the thoughts of seeing them on a solo performance here in Ireland at The Sugar Club on Thursday November 10th. I wasn’t to be disappointed and sublime is a very apt description of the concert we were lucky to witness in what can be described as a very intimate venue.
From the opening bars of Baroque Thoughts we knew we were in for a special night. With just the two ladies on stage and with Charley on acoustic guitar and Hattie alternating between a harp and a mandolin this allowed for the ladies to showcase their vocals and I was extremely impressed with their amazing harmonies throughout the entire concert and was moved to tears at times by the sheer beauty of their voices.
It is very hard to choose a highlight where every song was performed to perfection and while there were technical issues at the start they were quickly rectified and didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the night. If anything in fact it added to the friendly atmosphere the ladies created from the stage with the audience. Songs performed include In Your Father’s Eyes, Words That Mobilise and 1000 Stars.
While most of the songs performed on the night were songs they wrote themselves we were treated to some impressive covers including Tracy Chapman’s Baby Can I Hold You where they were briefly accompanied by Matt McGinn who had provided support on the night. However one specific song was especially poignant for me and that was their cover of Leonard Cohen’s If It Be Your Will. This was always a highlight for me on his tour and I knew I would love hearing it performed in an intimate venue like The Sugar Club. This song was very moving for me as it reminded me of a friend who has recently passed away and I found it very hard to hold back the tears when they sang the lyrics “If it be your will that I speak no more and my voice be still as it was before”. However emotions aside it was as always an outstanding performance of the song by the ladies.
When I normally think of beautiful music I tend to think of classical music and especially piano music like for example Fur Elise by Beethoven and I don’t normally use that word when describing concerts I attend. I’d generally use words like impressive or amazing when describing a concert I love. However in this instance I believe the use of the word beautiful is more fitting a word to use as when I was listening the harmonies of Charley and Hattie it was the word which came to mind a lot, that and of course sublime. On every song I was struck by even though they played their instruments to the highest level that their most powerful instrument were their voices. Individually they sound great but it really becomes perfection when they harmonise. Though I have thought long and hard I can honestly say I have never witnessed harmonies of this calibre before with the only possible exception being Simon & Garfunkel.
As I’ve stated above right from the start the ladies created a wonderful friendly atmosphere with the audience and even performed the final two songs amongst us. They also very kindly stayed back at the end of the concert to sign tickets and pose for photos. After meeting them in Las Vegas following Leonard Cohen’s final concert of the world tour it was great to have the opportunity to meet them again and thank them for a very memorable and moving night.
Leaving The Sugar Club I felt privileged to have being there to witness the magic of Charley and Hattie Webb and I look forward to seeing them perform again in the future. Leonard Cohen was right on target with his description calling these ladies The Sublime Webb Sisters.