Last Night: Imogen Heap Enchants (But Shuns an Encore!) at the Paramount

Imogen Heap performed at the Paramount on Monday, June 14, 2010.
Who is Imogen Heap: An English songbird who exudes seemingly effortless elegance and extraordinary writing abilities.

The show: A lush two-hour set that drew from her new album Ellipse as well as Speak for Yourself and iMegaphone.

Why the show was two hours: Heap is chatty. Very chatty. She shared personal anecdotes and inspirations, e.g.: comparing her cellulite-ridden thighs to the flawless skin of Japanese women.

Why people loved it (or left early): Whether you find Heap's banter charming or annoying depends on personal preference. For diehard fans, it made for a more intimate experience. But also overheard in the crowd: "This is not a Flight of the Conchords concert. Less talking, more playing, please."

Performance notes: Too talkative or not, this is a talented woman. Heap's ethereal vocals soared in the Paramount. Her live singing proved superior to her recordings on songs like "Speeding Cars and "Clear the Area." And she was especially wonderful during her rendition of the pining "Goodnight and Go."

Encore: "I don't like encores. Everybody knows exactly what's going to happen." Heap noted that leaving the stage, waiting for thundering applause, then returning with more music felt contrived and silly. Instead, she offered to stay on stage and play the rest of her set. The audience screamed its approval.

Pseudo-encore: Heap ended the evening with an obvious choice: her biggest hit "Hide and Seek." The song so haunting it silenced the audience remained silent until the very end when she quietly faded out with the sorrowful line, "You don't care a bit." Then they expressed that indeed, they did.

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