Gil Scott-Heron

Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
29th April 2010

Reviewed by Sebastian Gahan

Nobody said the revolution will not be performed and thus Gil Scott-Heron performed to a capacity house at Liverpool's Philharmonic Hall. Opening with his usual anecdotes and greetings, Heron discussed Black History Month and made some jokes that he admitted were not brilliant, but if people laughed, as they did, he need concede no such modesty. Following the openers, he launched into a comparatively slim set with many interludes of yet more anecdotes and band members getting a chance to shine. Unbothered by the protests that had afflicted his previous show in London over his now canceled Tel Aviv show he seemed at ease in the highly generous surrounds of the hall and managed to raise the whole room just with his entrance.

Surprisingly, or not, there was not a single song performed from new album 'I'm New Year', with the emphasis instead on classic material such as the staple 'Winter in America' and 'Pieces of A Man', with other songs like 'Is This Jazz?' and 'Bluesology' thrown in for good measure. But regardless of that, this was indeed a magical performance. The only complaint one could make of this show is that another hour would have made it perfect, rather than merely excellent. Despite the abrupt end though, this was a show to remember for the stand up which still has me laughing as I write this review, the passionate performances from the whole band and the way he made the stage his own.

Highlights include the explanation he proffered the audience with as to how jazz acquired it name (dirty but very funny). The moment he threatened to play 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised', as I'm sure many people wanted to hear, and played 'Pieces of A Man' instead, and the effortless cool he exuded from his mere presence on the stage. Truly a unique performer as Heron is, it is his mind that made the show what it was via the discussion, epithets and classic songwriting that have made his career truly inspiring. If you get the chance, you must see Gil Scott-Heron live. Trust me, it's worth it!

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