Marc Almond, Nottingham Royal Centre, 6.5.19

My review from today’s Nottingham Post. Photo below by their Kevin Cooper.

At 61, Marc Almond is entitled to take it easy. He has no album to promote, he tells a packed house, but wants to keep tonight ‘populist’, singing lots of favourite songs, most of them by old stars: ‘who tend to be dead stars, so they’re never going to let you down.’

He kicks off with Charles Aznavour’s I Have Lived, then it’s straight into a Scott Walker tribute, with The Big Hurt and, later, a fine Big Louise. There’s Billy Fury’s I’m Lost Without You and T.Rex’s Cosmic Dancer, which leads into a Bowie section featuring Starman, John, I’m Only Dancing and Brel’s Amsterdam. Four numbers are done nearly acapella, with his four backing singers. All great fun, featuring a six piece band and only a couple of first night missed cues.

My highlights are a fantastic rendition of Charles Aznavour’s What Makes A Man A Man and Lou Reed’s Caroline Says, performed with just cello and violin. He falsely accuses Paul McCartney of stealing a Russian folk song before giving us a rousing Those Were The Days (the villain who stole sole credit to his adaptation of the Russian song was one Gene Raskin, Macca only produced the Mary Hopkin hit).

Two hours rush by with his own hits restricted to the final section, including Stories of Johnny, a lovely, slowed down Bedsitter, a great Days of Pearly Spencer, a terrific A Lover Spurned and the closing My Hand Over My Heart, replete with comments about how forty years on high heels have played havoc with his knees.

Time is tight so he doesn’t leave the stage for the encores but launches into Tainted Love. There’s only one song he can finish with. Tonight, it’s dedicated to his Soft Cell bandmate, Dave Ball, who turned 60 this week. Say Hello, Wave Goodbye only becomes more emotionally resonant with the years. We sing, sway and wave along. A triumph.

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