There was a moment during Laura Marling's second song, "Walk Alone" - segueing so well into opener "Howl" that they could have been the same song - where she faltered, ever so slightly. This may be because she said the word 'shit' - which, for a Southbank Centre show, may have been considered by some as a form of blasphemy on such hallowed turf. But whatever it was that caused this little smile on her face appeared to throw the show up a notch from that moment in. Needless to say, from start to finish, it was phenomenal.
Her next move - playing the beautifully flowing "Take The Night Off", "I Was An Eagle", "You Know" and "Breathe" from Once I Was An Eagle - saw an audience that had remained practically silent throw rapturous applause towards the one we'd all come to see. I could have stood up and walked out at that point, safe in the knowledge that I'd already gotten my value for money. But I didn't. Obviously.
One small 'Hello' echoed around the room, acknowledging the second of four sold out crowds who had come to see what came across as almost an impromptu bunch of songs. I'd heard she wasn't much of a talker - but why would you need to be, with a voice as astonishing as hers? Filling the Queen Elizabeth Hall with her deep vibrato, her expert guitar technique - and the extremely capable hands of her backing band - Laura Marling showcased her full back catalogue. Though her style has changed somewhat over time - certainly heavier at present, with more raw emotion, if that's possible - each track sat beside the next in a comfortable, well worn jigsaw. And the enthusiasm of the 900 people watching saw her open up to the crowd slightly more, gaining in confidence throughout the set.
I later discovered that we were witnesses to an extreme rarity in the form of an encore. Playing a song that didn't quite make the cut for Short Movie - and about a close friend of Marling's - "Daisy" was a perfect closer to the enigmatic 25-year-old's show. Channelling such behemoths in the game as Chrissie Hynde, Alanis Morissette and even Joni Mitchell, I look forward to seeing where Laura Marling's journey will take her next.
Needless to say, by the time she got to the eponymous track from her new album, she sure had no trouble saying, 'it's a short fucking movie, man...'