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LONDON — Leona Lewis played her first-ever full concert on home turf in Hackney, East London, as she launched her new album.
The U.K. singer, who became a worldwide star after winning “The X Factor” in 2006, grew up in Hackney and chose the borough’s famous Hackney Empire theatre as the location for her live debut Monday night.
“I first performed here when I was 13,” she told the audience, “So it seemed fitting to come back and do my first live show here.”
Despite her lack of live experience — and heavy security at the gig after Lewis was recently attacked at a London book signing — Lewis showed few signs of nerves during the gig, even when technical problems dogged her guitar player during “Better in Time.”
Beginning with “Brave” from sophomore album “Echo,” due Nov. 16 in the United Kingdom on Syco/Sony Music, and a day later in the United States on J, Lewis sang nine songs in total, including three other songs from the new record. “I Got You” and lead single “Happy” — currently No. 98 on Billboard’s Hot 100 — were trademark Lewis ballads, but “Outta My Head” marked a change in direction with its high energy dance sound.
A troupe of semi-clad male dancers featured on several songs, while at one stage Lewis performed behind a giant hologram projection of herself.
Lewis also performed “Whatever It Takes” and her worldwide No. 1 “Bleeding Love” from her debut “Spirit” album. Lewis paid tribute to “the power” of the latter song, noting “because of that song I’ve been able to travel and do so many amazing things.” She also played her cover of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” before ending the set with her version of Snow Patrol’s “Run,” a U.K. No. 1 for her in Dec. 2008.
Lewis is expected to tour next year, although no dates have yet been announced.
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