FOR most artists the opening song is their moment for a big, grand, bombastic entrance; the time to grab the audience`s attention and not let them go. There`s been a fair few this year with a blast of fireworks, billowing smoke machines and the face punching anthemic opener that just screams “We are here!”

Katie Melua needs none of that as she casually strode onto The Sage stage armed only with an acoustic guitar. If You Are So Beautiful was delivered in Ukrainian with such a beautiful, haunting melody that the crowd was instantly transfixed with her voice as pure and clear as glacial waters.

Accompanied firstly by her brother Zurab for Plane Song, who brought a shimmering guitar refrain that would have made Mark Knopfler proud before being joined by the rest of her band for a few songs including her big hit Nine Million Bicycles.

One of the great gifts a singer can have is taking someone else`s song and making it their own. The Cure`s Just Like Heaven and Black`s Wonderful Life could quite easily have been written just for Melua and Sting would surely have appreciated her delightful take on Fields Of Gold.

Where this show really reached another level was when the 14-piece Gori Women`s Choir joined the show with Joni Mitchell`s River bathed in a glorious mist of exquisitely harmonised voices that were both ethereal in their beauty and intensely uplifting particularly on Cradle Song and the magnificently atmospheric O Holy Night. When Melua joined the choir for The Little Swallow, it reached an even more grand scale. There is nothing quite like a choir in full flow.

With her band returning for The Flood, the tempo picked up with an almost Led Zeppelin like beat bringing an air of tension and drama to the show before The Closest Thing To Crazy brought the hits back.

What A Wonderful World was reimagined by Melua in her own inimitable style and the appreciative audience gave her the applause and ovation her stunning performance richly deserved.

Mick Burgess