Birmingham Symphony Hall
“You can go home now, you’ve seen all the hits” yelled The Beloved Entertainer as he strode to centre stage, the giant TV set behind him having played promos from his past while we awaited his arrival. (why don’t more bands put thought into entertaining the audience during these longueurs? – The White Stripes used to show old 50s cartoons). It’s a tricky balancing act he takes on these days – rewarding the trainspotters (Hello!) with rarely played nuggets while satisfying those there to hear ‘Oliver’s Army’ and She. Tonight he pulled it off superbly in a two hour set that spanned the years as he painted himself in the same vaudeville tradition as his father and grandfather.
He opens with two songs from the same vintage but years apart, ‘Red Shoes’ and ‘Blue Minute’ – both demoed for ‘My Aim Is True’ but the latter not seeing the light of day until the umpteenth reissue of his debut. There was a sparkiness and energy in his delivery of even familiar material. “Look out music lovers, I’m gonna play the piano’ he once yelled on a live B-side’ which was felt » Continue Reading.