Sam Smith fans around the world were shocked and upset when he announced early in 2015 that he had struggled with a hemorrhage on his vocal cords and had to undergo suspension microlaryngoscopy surgery. The singer underwent the operation in may and after three weeks of not being able to speak at all he reached out to his fans to let them know everything had been successful, and after a bit of vocal rest doctors were convinced he’d be back and better than ever. Sam was heart broken to cancel tour dates but promised to make them up to his fans and as a loyal fan base does, they stood by him and congratulated him on every step he made in his journey back to the stage.
On July 17th he made his big return to the United States by headlining night one of Forecastle Music Fest in Louisville, Kentucky. The heat was scorching, most concert goers drenched in sweat and beaten down by humidity, but the crowd only grew in size and anticipation waiting to see Sam Smith’s triumphant return, and triumphant it was.
I’ve seen Sam Smith twice before myself, both times in Nashville, at beautiful venues where the setting was intimate and his vocals were the highlight of the show. I wondered what it would be like seeing him after his surgery and in a different setting, and once again he blew myself, and the rest of the crowd, completely away.
Sam’s vocal ability is unmatched, it is truly a moving experience to see him live. He brings the crowd in with his songs, but also his stories, the way he tells you, as if you’re old friends, about what inspired him to write the tracks that allow us a peek into his heart.
Watching Sam walk onto the stage; the lights focusing on him, the crowd erupting in applause, and hearing him begin to sing notes of the first song was amazing. You could tell he was at home again, Sam Smith is truly a person who belongs on stage, singing his heart out to thousands of people, sharing his story with the girl in the front row or the guy five rows back who are overcoming heartbreak themselves. The festival atmosphere suited him just as well as the intimate venues he plays as well, which goes to show that when you have raw talent and a true connection with your fans, your voice can change lives no matter what setting you’re in.
So when the doctors told Sam that he’d be back and better than ever after the surgery, they didn’t know how right they were, and only when fans in Louisville were singing along with him to ‘Lay Me Down’, did we get a taste of what they were talking about.
Not even half way through the song a man came out to the stage and escorted Sam directly off, a few seconds later a voice was heard as an announcement telling fans to safely get way from the stage and find shelter. It was then that the fans looked up, looked around us, and saw that the electric charge in the air had been changed, that there was an impending storm moments away from hitting, that Sam Smith had brought so much power that the heavens seemed to open up. I guess if you’re gonna make a return, you may as well go big or go home, and Sam did just that.
So if you’re lucky enough to see Sam Smith’s name on an advertisement in a city near you, go see him! Go experience the raw talent that he possesses, listen to the heart breaking/healing stories he tells through his set, and if you’re seeing him at a festival; be prepared to see the sky open up because his voice just can’t be contained.