Concert Review: Ben Howard @ Samsung Hall, 26.11.2018  

The British singer-songwriter Ben Howard kept us waiting for a while, but this year he was finally back and his “The Noonday Dream Tour” even made a quick stop at the Samsung Hall in Switzerland. During his US tour, I already heard, that he’ll be playing mostly songs off his new record, I was excited to see if that was the case in Europe too…

The last time I’ve seen Ben Howard was back in 2015 at the Winterthurer Musikfestwochen. I have to admit, I kinda stopped following him after that, which obviously doesn’t mean others did the same thing. Then his new album came out. It didn’t blow me away, but then again, maybe it’ll sound different live? You never know…

Right on time at 9pm, the band took their places on stage, closely followed by Ben Howard. The backdrop was a huge LED screen, there were lamps all over the stage that were moved up and down the stands. The stage really did look great with the lights, the LED screen, and all the musicians!

Most of Noonday Dream is being presented to us

Ben Howard’s set starts out with “Nica Libres at Dusk”. The Samsung Hall wasn’t sold out, there was still some room down in the standing area but seats up on the balcony were nicely filled. The present fans seem to enjoy the music. It was pretty silent, not much chatter at all – at least not where I was standing most of the time. I really enjoyed that, just being able to listen to the music without being disturbed by yapping people. However, I was a bit disappointed that it was mostly the new songs that were played. I get that as an artist, you want to showcase your new work, but maybe throw in a couple more older songs in between. The music as such was great, the band sounded great and at some point, it seemed like Ben and the other musicians were just jamming out together – which I personally love to see and hear, as you can then really tell if and how the musicians are connected. But, here’s the but… For me personally, I was missing some variety, everything sounded very similar. The new songs are a bit too dark and “spacey”, and of course the big hits like “Only Love” or even “Keep Your Head Up” were missing…

Ben Howard has evolved

Yes, he really has. And this is generally something I really like – artists have to experiment and evolve. Of course, this will always mean that some fans might leave, but there will always be new ones and of course the ones that stay no matter what. I’m sure it’s the same thing for Ben Howard, many are still enjoying his music, you can tell just by looking at the fans and the lack of (in my opinion) disrespectful chatter. But for me personally, the show, unfortunately, wasn’t quite what I was hoping for. But then again, I might just be an old fart who probably didn’t get enough sleep for a while 🙂

Concert Pictures: Ben Howard @ Samsung Hall