Live Review: Seal @ Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver - June 14th 2023 © Sharon Steele

Live Review: Seal @ Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver – June 14th 2023

Seal finished off the North American leg of his world tour celebrating 30 years of Seal I and Seal II at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver, and it was an extraordinary musical experience that exceeded all expectations. Opening for Seal were ’80s MTV favorites, “The Buggles,” or more precisely, “Trevor Horn’s Buggles,” featuring the iconic music producer and former YES member, Trevor, performing songs such as “Video Killed the Radio Star” and including Yes’s hit, “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” which he co-wrote. As it turns out, the other Buggles members were borrowed from Seal’s own band for the six-song opening set.

Seal’s show began with a video montage recapping the highlights of his illustrious musical career. Then, the Buggles band became Seal’s backup band, with Trevor taking on bass duty.

Walking out on stage in a white leather and teal leather jacket, Seal kicked off the set with the ever-popular “Crazy,” immediately getting the audience on their feet and dancing. Being a longtime fan, I was eagerly looking forward to this show, and Seal did not disappoint. He engaged with the audience throughout his performance, making it even more special.

Seal performed the much-loved “Bring It On” from his Seal II album, and the band sounded amazing, capturing the texture of the soaring soul song perfectly. The stage design featured a white curtain that served as a large video screen, enhancing the overall experience. The sound mix was on point, and later we learned that Seal had brought his sound engineer from his Seal I/II albums to handle the live mix. Having Trevor Horn as the musical director ensured a seamless and solid performance from everyone involved.

At one point, as the audience cheered, Seal mentioned how he loved that they wanted to get closer and make contact because that’s exactly how he felt too. A fan came up to the front of the stage, and Seal leaned forward, placing his hand on the fan’s shoulders. The fan expressed how lucky they were to have Seal in their country and in the world right now, which received loud cheers from the audience. The two pressed their heads together in adoration, and Seal expressed that there was no other place he would rather be.

Taking off his leather jacket, Seal launched into the powerful “Bring It On” once again, and everyone got up out of their seats and danced. His performance was flawless and generous.

At one point, Seal spoke about life’s circular nature, discussing the concept of death and his own mortality. He shared that there is no such thing as the end or the beginning, emphasizing the importance of living in the present. To symbolize this, he revealed that he had the word “AKIN” written on his in-ear monitor, which stands for “All I know is now.” There are no guarantees for tomorrow; all we have is the present moment. He then performed “Prayer for the Dying.”

Seal’s voice remained impeccable throughout the entire set as he danced and engaged with the audience, performing many fan favorites.

During his performance of “Killer,” Seal decided to jump off the stage and venture into the audience. Standing on the edge of a seat, he sang and engaged the audience, encouraging them to mimic his vocals. The crowd jumped up and down, singing “brother…sister,” and the interaction elevated the concert experience. It’s always a delight when a performer goes into the audience and connects with everyone. I wish more artists would do the same, as it adds a special highlight to the concert.

While still among the audience, Seal mentioned the experience of having a song stuck in your head that you can’t get rid of. He proceeded to sing Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69,” allowing the audience to join in and sing along to this well-known local hometown favorite.

Then he performed his most recognized song “Kiss from a Rose” from the audience.

During the encore, Seal mentioned his previous connection to Whistler and how he considered moving there. He expressed how much he missed the connection with the audience, emphasizing the collaborative nature of life. He gave kudos to everyone working behind the scenes and brought his crew on stage to thank them, including the sound engineer, Tim, who mixed the original albums and handled the front-of-house sound.

For the last song, Seal introduced the band and expressed his gratitude, particularly highlighting Trevor Horn. He marveled at the fact that the person who believed in him many years ago, produced his memorable albums, and now came out on the road with him also served as his musical director.

In conclusion, Seal’s 30 Years Tour in Vancouver was a great and inclusive performance that showcased his immense talent and genuine connection with the audience. His engaging stage presence and flawless vocals, coupled with the exceptional musicianship of the band, created a truly unforgettable experience. I highly recommend attending one of Seal’s tour stops or future shows if given the chance. His concert is a celebration of music, nostalgia, and the power of shared experiences that will leave you with cherished memories for years to come.

Photos © Sharon Steele

  1. Well written article. We were there and it was exactly how we experienced it. Indeed, an unforgettable concert. He was so good. He touches so many people’s heart. An incredible musician and person. <3

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