Ahead of the final night of Forest Live concerts at High Lodge in Thetford Forest storms had been making their way across the country and threatened to disrupt the night as they did a week before at Cannock Chase, where tonight’s acts had the night cut short only three songs in.
However the storms gave way to just a light on and off rain ahead of gates opening, so the crowd simply donned their rain ponchos or gathered under the trees within the arena, while they waited for Natalie Imbruglia to take to the stage.
The Australian soon lured people out from under the trees as she danced around the stage performing hit singles that were in almost constant rotation through the late 90s and early 2000s. Interspersing the set with newer songs such as Maybe It’s Great penned with The Strokes’ Albert Hammond Jr from 2021’s Firebird.
Bringing her set to a close with Big Mistake, which had the crowd head banging. Followed by the multi platinum, Ednaswap cover, Torn that every single person in the crowd must have known the lyrics too.
Soon Jack Savoretti would take to the stage, pick up his acoustic guitar to open with We Are Bound, to an adoring crowd, which included a life size cardboard cut out of Savoretti in the front row. A cut out which had caught Imbruglia off guard during her set, apologising about laughing and insisting that “Jack will love it”.
He spoke to the crowd telling them how much it means to him to be back playing to crowds after the pain of not being able to meet with people during the pandemic, during which the emotion felt palpable.
That emotion and passion showed in Only You, which I’m sure tonight will be a loving memory made here in the forest with friends watching the show.
Part way through the set the cut-out of Savoretti lost it’s head, which the real Savoretti said he preferred as looking out and seeing a picture of himself looking back at him was a bit strange.
Big powerful ballads, such as Candlelight performed with an intro using parts of Nancy Sinatra’s Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down), felt like they flowed out and filled the entire forest.
Savoretti was a great act to close this year’s gigs in the forest. With his charisma and fantastic songs he will have left all that braved the rain, with a fantastic memory of the night. Maybe he’ll be back again with some sunshine?
Words and pictures: Stephen Keable, Ipswich24 Magazine