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Sophie Ellis-Bextor at Norwich’s Waterfront Review

Dan Sayle


From Disco Diva to Storytelling Songstress

Sophie Ellis-Bextor dazzles on the opening night of her ‘Familia Tour’ at Norwich’s Waterfront.

As my close friends would know, I have waited for around 17 years to see Sophie and the chance to experience her music, old and new, in this intimate venue was an opportunity not to be missed.


Sophie arrives on stage with the band playing the opening cords of “Wild Forever” wearing a red playsuit cheekily embroided with Familia on her rear. The first part of the tour was dedicated to current album 'Familia' and its predecessor 'Wanderlust' - both of which exhibit Sophie’s strong ability to weave a story, capturing the audience with songs immersed in folk-lore and adorned with unique characters. Highlights included our journey into the woods with ‘The Deer & the Wolf’, as well as her haunting rendition of ‘Love Is a Camera’, in which Sophie tells her tale of a Witch who traps her victims via a magical camera!


Taking a brief break from story-telling, Sophie stripped it back and treated the audience with acoustic renditions from her back-catalogue of hits. Taking various requests from the audience, she sang classics such as ‘Catch You’, ‘A Pessimist is Never Disappointed’ and ‘Mixed Up World’, demonstrating her vocal talent.


Following this, she then reverted back to our journey into the colourful worlds of Familia and Wanderlust, with the bohemian fiddle-fest of ‘13 Little Dolls’ and the funk-infused ‘Come with us’, radiating her infectious energy directly into the crowd.


Throughout the entire show Sophie’s energy did not falter, constantly voicing her desire for us to dance. And by no doubt, she got her wish with her final 7 songs, retreating back to her disco-roots with ‘Take Me Home’, ‘Heartbreak (Make me a Dancer)’, ‘Groovejet’, and finally her most renowned hit ‘Murder on the Dancefloor’.

Just as the audience thought it was all over, the spotlight fell on the merchandise stand, where Sophie, her guitarist and violinist, reappeared to perform an unplugged version of ‘Here Comes the Rapture’, before spending time after the show signing autographs and having photos with fans.


Not only did Sophie capture the audience with her intense dedication to story-telling, strong vocals and disco ear-worms, but her dazzling and down-to-earth personality really shone through. Laughing and cheekily interacting with the audience throughout the whole set, Sophie most certainly made the most of this intimate venue. In summary, Sophie proved herself as a diverse performer immersing us in a world which uniquely amalgamates traditional story-telling with disco sparkle.





Wild Forever

Death of Love


The Deer & the Wolf

Love Is a Camera

Hush Little Voices

Catch You (Acoustic) 

A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed (Acoustic) 

Mixed Up World (Acoustic) 


13 Little Dolls

Young Blood


Don't Shy Away

Come With Us

Take Me Home

Lady (Hear Me Tonight)

Groovejet (If This Ain't Love)

Sing It Back 

Heartbreak (Make Me a Dancer)

Murder on the Dancefloor 

Here Comes the Rapture (Acoustic)

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