An Evening With
This event is all ages.
$99.50 – Reserved Seating
$79.50 – Reserved Seating
$59.50 – Reserved Seating
$45.00 – Reserved Seating
*plus applicable service fees
Fox Theater Box Office – 1807 Telegraph Ave, Oakland CA
located on the 19th Street side of the theater
HOURS: Open during shows & Fridays, noon – 7:00pm
Tickets are also available service charge free at the following location:
Zellerbach Hall – 101 Zellerbach Hall #4800, Berkeley, CA
located on the UC Berkeley campus
HOURS: Tuesday – Friday, noon – 5:30pm & Saturday – Sunday, 1pm – 5pm
All doors & show times subject to change.
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White Ladder was one in a million. It was a game changer, a life changer, the people’s choice blockbuster that launched a thousand troubadours. It may be the greatest ever word-of-mouth success in the history of the music business.
Recorded for no budget in a Stoke Newington bedroom in 1998 by a down on his luck singer-songwriter and self-released on a kitchen sink label, White Ladder slowly (very, very slowly) found an audience. It took a year to creep into the lower reaches of the British charts, then worked its way all the way up to number one. White Ladder eventually spent 3 years (from May 2000 to March 2003) in the UK top 100, spawning classic hit singles ‘Babylon’, ‘Please Forgive Me’ and ‘Sail Away’. It went on to sell over 7 million copies worldwide. It remains in the top 30 best-selling British albums of all time and the best-selling album ever in Ireland (a nation who know a good song when they hear it).
Celebrating its 20th anniversary with an expanded edition, it is interesting to consider the extraordinary aftermath of White Ladder. Its success spawned a new wave of singer-songwriters in an acoustic boom that resonates to this day, a soul-baring lineage that can be directly traced from David Gray to the all-conquering Ed Sheeran. Indeed, Ed is a fan, whose passionate live version of ‘This Year’s Love’ can bring tears to the eye. Fellow world beating British superstar Adele is also an admirer, citing ‘This Year’s Love’ as one of her all-time favourite break-up songs.
In the wake of White Ladder, every major record company began signing and developing guitar wielding troubadours. David Gray was followed into the UK charts by Damien Rice, KT Tunstall, Katie Melua, James Blunt, James Morrison, James Bay, Paolo Nutini, and, ultimately, Ed Sheeran and a second wave of guitar boys including George Ezra, Tom Walker, Tom Grennan and Lewis Capaldi. In the US (where White Ladder sold 2 million copies), Jack Johnson, John Mayer and Jazon Mraz were amongst singer-songwriters whose careers received a significant commercial boost. White Ladder was a music industry game changer.
And yet White Ladder remains apart from everything that followed. While the record company model involved putting young guitarist-singers into the studio with teams of established pop writers and producers, White Ladder was the work of a lone artist plumbing the depths of his soul.
“I’ve been happy after the event to get back to writing the music that I felt was in me and following my creative path. I don’t think the records I’ve made since have been worse or better. I just think what happened with White Ladder involved more than music. It was a sort of heart and soul moment of total surrender for everybody involved, for me and the audience. That was it. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
Twenty years on, White Ladder remains an album of great depth and startling beauty, a superlative collection of emotional songs capturing a very special moment in time, as raw and immediate as when it was recorded.