Live Zone

Anne-Marie / Leah Kate, Utilita Arena, Birmingham, 25th November 2023


How can Anne-Marie be on the tele’ box on The Voice at the same time as wowing circa 15,000 fans at Birmingham’s Utilita Arena last night? It must be some sort of magic trick!

Magic is exactly the verdict for this talented pop star’s 90-minute show, as the temperatures dipped and the frost settled outside, it was heating up inside as the fans sang along to hit after hit from an artist with a staggering seven billion streams of her music. Kerching!

On stage either alone or with six dancers, no band tonight, singing to tracks – which is unusual for a big arena tour – the stage was transformed into the set from a play or musical, or so it looked like.

A house with a giant bed with several mattresses, and a fluffy cloud hanging above it. With that set and Anne-Marie in the various clothing changes, it almost resembled a kid’s TV show for the toddlers. Half expected Bungle or Zippy to appear from nowhere and join Anne-Marie for a story.

Anne-Marie was in playful mood and full of beans, but it made zero difference to her stunning vocal skills. She really is one of the best singers in the UK right now, and her songwriting chops match her pipes for quality.

Anne-Mare is subscribed to the cloud…

22 songs tonight in a 90 minute set, most of her big hits and songs taken from her three studio albums, 2018’s “Speak Your Mind”, “Therapy” from 2021 and her latest, “Unhealthy” released in July this year.

She spent much of the gig sat on a stool, swing or the giant bed; maybe she was tired from the previous night’s performance also in Birmingham, this time at the Resorts World Arena for the Free Radio Hits Live concert.

There she headlined, with the likes of Becky Hill, Jax Jones, Cian Ducrot, Callum Scott, Fleur East, Tom Grennan, Busted and more on the bill. But at that gig, Anne-Marie had just four-songs in her set: “Unhealthy”, “2002,” “Friends” and “Psycho”.

Tonight, it’s very much her night and she doesn’t need a star-studded supporting cast or a band to take the attention away from her talents.

The stage set, resembling more a big theatrical production in the West End than your normal pop show, is apt considering the 32-year-old began her stage career at the age of six in the hit musical Les Misérables in London’s theatre district.


Birmingham is the fourth date on her six-date “Unhealthy Club Tour”, which also visits Cardiff, Brighton, Dublin, Manchester and London’s 02 arena.

She has announced eight outdoor summer 2024 gigs and a new UK tour in November next year. Anne-Marie will be back at this same venue exactly a year today, 25th November 2024 for another headline gig.


She kicks off with her hit “Alarm” and into “Sad Bitch”, before “Trainwreck”, which prompts the cloud to appear above the bed she is now on top of. After “Cuckoo” there’s confetti blasted out for the song “Birthday”.

The final song, “Psycho” sees flames shoot up. There are jets of CO₂ for the tracks “Ciao Adios,” for her hit with Clean Bandit and Sean Paul, “Rockabye”, early hit “Friends”, and “Baby Don’t Hurt Me”, her recent track with David Guetta and Coi Leray – for which there is a Grammy nomination.

There are four costume changes, from denim to a sparkly white affair, a black puffy dress and a red suit. She is chatty between songs and mentions her success on Strictly when she won the Christmas special in 2021, and she also tells the fans she loves the Brummie accent. Good on yoom, bab!

Fans lap up song # 10, the track she did with country music superstar Shania Twain, “Unhealthy”, where she joins in the line dancing with her dance troupe. [You can spot the pink cowboy hats around the venue.]

She sits back on the stool she was on to start the night, for her sole encore song, “Pyscho”, the stage flooded with red light. The song she cancelled on Thursday night as rioters trashed Dublin not far from the venue she had filled.

An announcement made to the Dublin fans about what was happening outside and the fact public transport had been suspended. An aptly named song for the t***s causing mayhem in the streets.

Anne-Marie (Nicholson) is a big talent. Her breakthrough was the 2015 collaboration with Rudimental on their album “We the Generation”. Seven UK hit singles, two Top Three albums and the aforementioned seven billion streams, and her sell out tours.

She lights up the screen on The Voice and comes across as a genuine and likeable, young-at-heart, fun lady who seems to be an asset to the competitors she is coaching, by tapping into her experience to help them. A real bonus for us viewers when she gets to sing on the show, too.

Sad then, that the producers have said her [and Olly Murs] will not be rehired for the next season in 2024.

No announcement yet as to who will replace the pair. A mistake to risk the loss of the many Anne-Marie fans from watching that TV talent show. She will be missed…

I do wonder if the TV bosses know this: Anne-Marie is a black belt in karate and a former triple world champion, winning double gold at the world championships and gold at the United Kingdom Karate championships in 2002.

So maybe she can “have a little word” and get them to change their mind!!!!!


  • US artist Leah Kate is the main opening act for this tour. Leah (28) has notched up 73 million streams for her single, the naughtily named, “F*ck Up the Friendship” and in excess of 161 million streams for the track “10 Things I hate About You”.
Leah Kate

Her debut EP, “What Just Happened?” dropped in October 2021. Before her career took off, Leah posted music to her own YouTube channel from September 2018. She’s due back to Brum in May 2024, as a headliner at the 02 Institute as part of her own UK tour.  Tonight, DJ Evissamax (aka Eva) was first up, before Leah’s set.

Leah Kate


Leah Kate


Leah Kate




Photos: Jason Sheldon

Words: Emma Ledwell



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