Joan Armatrading

Liverpool Philharmonic
23rd March 2015

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

This was Armatrading's 116th gig (or was it the 117th!) of her last world tour, which proved acceptable on the ears but lacking any real spark of excitement.

That was confined to the back row of the hall where an inebriated guy, who had been constantly yelling praise at the singer throughout, was manhandled from his seat by three security staff, forcing myself and my companion to vacate our places to enable him to be ejected from the venue.

I did not expect this to happen at the the home of classical music in Liverpool!

Armatrading sang 19 of her songs, three of them on an electric piano, with the use of three electric guitars to perform the rest of her set. Unfortunately she did not use an acoustic guitar, which would have given more light and shade to her act.

With no backing musicians on stage a pre-recorded string section was used on All Away To America and pre-recorded sax on probably her best known track, Love And Affection. I found the use of taped music a bit dubious.

An impressive film backdrop was used , helping to illustrate each song with appropriate imagery

Despite the extensive tour schedule her vocal delivery was strong, phrasing her lyrics with gusto.

Midway through her set she spent several minutes talking about various photographs featuring her and other celebrities, the most notable being one with Nelson Mandela. The most cringeworthy was one featuring Armatrading showing off her MBE. My. my, I was impressed!!

She has always been noted to have a wry sense of humour, and her gig at the Phil was no exception, having a good rapport and banter with the Liverpool audience minus one!

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