Pop Break Live: Sophie B. Hawkins at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, PA on March 28, 2023.
Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Sophie B. Hawkins, who took the music world by storm three decades ago with her critically acclaimed platinum selling debut album Tongues and Tails, played Philadelphia’s World Cafe on March 28. Hawkins, who penned two of the 90’s most memorable hits, “Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover” and “As I Lay Me Down,” is touring in support of her first album in over a decade — Free Yourself. Released on March 24, the album has already received some really nice reviews, even landing on The Grammy Recording Academy‘s list of must hear new albums. This emotionally charged and uplifting album was motivated by a 17 year relationship that ended.
The setlist was a nice mix of old and new. Hawkins was backed by Seth Glier (keyboard/guitar) and Katie Marie (drums). Their three part harmonies were stunning at times, especially on “Green Eyes,” one of many great new songs off her current release. Early on in the set she played “As I Lay Me Down,” the chart topping hit which shattered records on the Billboard charts from her second album, Whaler. She also performed a few other songs off that album, “Only Love” and “Right Beside You.” On the latter she told the crowd that she loves when the audience knows the lyrics because if she ever forgot them, she could just read their lips. This was one many witty things she said during the night, which included a funny story about Janis Joplin.
Hawkins played her hits and enough older stuff to satisfy the crowd but there were so many new songs that stood out that really hit the mark. They were so melodic and had a choruses that could easily gets stuck in ones head. Even though the album just released a few days ago, there were lots of people singing along. One of the highlights during the set was “You Are My Balloon,” a song whose inspiration came from her children. It was a stunner! Hawkins really shone on “Better off Without You.”
She told the crowd she was actually wearing the same outfit that she wore for the video of the song. Not only did she play keys on this number but pounded away on a Kembe drum too. Hawkins got a great response from the crowd on the uplifting “Love Yourself.” The show ended with the song fans were waiting for, “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover.” She added a little snippet of “Love Yourself” again at the end and had the audience singing and clapping along.
Known for her reputation over the years for high energy captivating performances, boy did Sophie B. Hawkins deliver! This Philly crowd was treated to a really special night of music from one of the best singer-songwriters around.