Guildford Civic Hall
I’ve always rather liked Paul Carrack – especially his singing. He has an effortlessly great voice. Mrs LB knows this and so bought me tickets to see him and his band at the Guildford Civic Hall (Well, its the Civic Hall according to my satnav, G Live to ‘ver kids and marketing professionals).
First, a word for the support act. Robert Vincent, a scouse singer songwriter in need of a haircut. Armed with a great voice, some immediately great, downbeat songs, he was excellent.
Then on the main show. Carrack, looking like Bono would if he aged gracefully, and his band launched into a Mike & The Mechanics number. I knew this much because it a) had two synths being played and b) had no showy off guitar solos. It was a good start – the man can sing and the band can play. The next song was jaunty enough – mid paced polished blues. The song was stretched to breaking point by a sax solo, bass solo (I’ve genuinely not seen one of these before) and then guitar solo followed by some piano solo. I got a little bit bored.
This set the pattern for the evening. Songs were either great (the Mechanics, Ace and Squeeze tunes), good (the shorter, non fretwankery songs) or good but tailed of after 5 or 6 minutes. I also noticed just how good the lyrics to Tempted were in comparison to the Carrack originals which, were full of standard rock rhymes about love, how his heart feels, etc. It was a breath of fresh air.
I enjoyed the gig – the band could play and he can sing. But it was a little too polished (apart from the bum chord the guitarist hit during a strangely unemotional Living Years) and devoid of emotion.
Oh to be young again. Well, I felt a little bit younger than normal with this lot. The man in front of me went to the loo twiche and then proceeded to dance with his hands in his fleece pocket. I can’t be sure, but he may have been on Werthers Originals. There is a lot of love for Mr Carrack (deservedly so) and the show was sold out. The standing, clapping and singing along for the encore songs seemed to remind us all of a distant past. Still, it’s nice to go to a gig where there isn’t some drunk hipster talking loudly about work. That’s the beauty of going to gigs with retirees.
It made me think..
I wish I’d seen him at his peak. Don’t get me wrong, the band are great and Carrack is a good performer with a great voice. But this felt a little bit like a show rather than a gig.