Tag Archives: Royal Concert Hall

REVIEW: Caro Emerald – The Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow

Dutch jazz/pop sensation Caro Emerald is in Glasgow, bringing old-school Hollywood glamour along with some bossa nova beats, latin vibes and a fabulously retro stage set.

Emerald is indeed a gem, and her reputation as one of the finest live performers in the world remains firmly intact on the basis of this glorious sell-out set at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Backed by her exceptional seven-piece band, she storms through hit after hit after hit from Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room FloorThe Shocking Miss Emerald and Emerald Island. It’s rare that there’s not a weak song in an entire set, but there truly isn’t. Despite what your pre-conceptions are about her music, there’s something inherently infectious about each and every one of these tunes. The mixture of 40s and 50s jazz, swing, Latin beats, some VERY James Bond themed numbers and good old pop, is irresistible. There’s also the inclusion of Camila Cabello’s chart-topping Havana, a song that couldn’t be more perfect for Emerald to cover.

There’s little interaction with the audience, little show of personality, save for her quirky, modern/retro fashion choices (two outfits for the evening if you’re interested) not that there’s any sign of ego or arrogance, Emerald really does let the music do the talking, there’s no need to waste time with chat when people just want to hear these tunes.

Of note are the gorgeous, retro projections that accompany the set, be it chilling by the pool or a hot Cuban night, they perfectly enhance the mood of each song. 

It takes the normally exuberant Glasgow audience a while to get on their feet tonight, but when they do there’s no way they’re going to sit back down. The evening ends on a high with Emerald’s most familiar song, On a Night Like This. The perfect antidote to the on-coming winter blues.

REVIEW: Nashville Live – Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow

Capitalising on the current insatiable appetite for all things Country and aiming to “transport you right into the heart of downtown Nashville, celebrating the atmosphere and energy of an evening in the home of country music”, Nashville Live at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall features a cast of seasoned West End performers recreating the great and the good of the country music scene.

Framed as an evening from the stage of the Ryman Auditorium, where the world-famous venue broadcasts its radio show to the nation, complete with red on-air sign, silence/applause banner and peppered with vintage radio ads enacted by the cast, it’s an uneven evening that doesn’t know quite what it is.

To it’s credit the set list manages to cover an impressively comprehensive number of Country music eras and genres: Blue Moon of Kentucky sets the tone, quite literally, with heavy reverb on the microphones and slightly mushy sound mixing to start, it takes a while to get in to its stride. Robbie Durham elevates the proceedings with a duo of Hank Williams tunes, Hey Good Lookin’ and Jambalaya. However, there are technical glitches with Helena Gullen’s accompanying, silent fiddle.

Gullen tackles the incomparable Patsy Cline in Walking After Midnight and is competent, if a little lacklustre, again there are plenty of effects on the mic to support her voice, she fairs better in the classic, I Fall to Pieces. Chris Grahamson delivers Willie Nelson’s, On The Road Again and Always on my Mind and to the production’s credit, returns the anthem Crazy to its writer Nelson to deliver. Grahamson has a strong, clear voice and does justice to these well-loved tunes.

There are some unexpected detours courtesy of a few Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard songs and a bluegrass interlude, but it’s soon back to the big-hitters with Tammy Wynette’s Stand By Your Man, Dolly Parton’s Jolene and I Will Always Love You performed by Lisa Wright. Wright has an excellent voice, but lacks rapport with the audience. Durham gets the audience singing along to Kenny Rogers’ foot stomper,The Gambler.

Robbie Durham, fresh from a London run and UK tour of Million Dollar Quartet, again plays Johnny Cash and showcases his astonishing vocal range and tone. Folsom Prison Blues and I Walk the Line are particular highlights.

Grahamson returns with Garth Brooks’ Friends in Low Places and If Tomorrow Never Comes, again, Grahamson’s rich, clear voice is a stand out among the cast.

While there’s quality throughout the cast, the staging is incongruous. While the artists are introduced as “Dolly Parton” and “Patsy Cline” the costumes for the most part are modern, and there’s no attempt to look like the artists featured save for a few shirt changes amongst the men. That coupled with the ‘radio show’ staging and the vintage adverts in between. It doesn’t work. Either full-on tribute in wigs and costume or a band of musicians just playing covers of these songs, both of these would have worked, this mash-up just confuses. While the auditorium is full, the audience are singing along, the atmosphere is ‘flat’ and there’s a LOT of chat from the audience throughout most of the ballads and the songs that are less familiar.

A great set list and some flawless vocals but the show lacks the passion and energy from the performers that marks a truly entertaining night out.

Touring Scotland – more info at: http://www.mapletreeentertainment.com/currently-touring/Nashville+Live/16/tourdates/

REVIEW: Idina Menzel – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

idina menzel standing arms aloft

Tony Award-winning Broadway superstar Idina Menzel is in town once again with her individual blend of musical theatre classics, pop standards and self-penned songs from her new album.

As ever it’s an eclectic mix: The Beatles’ Dear Prudence melding into Do You Want to Build a Snowman?, a clutch of the songs from the shows that made her Broadway name – Seasons of Love and No Day But Today from Rent, Defying Gravity and For Good from Wicked, some very introspective offerings about her divorce, her son and finding new love from the album idina and, of course, the ubiquitous Let It Go from Frozen – which she performed with a clutch of tiny fans at her side, oh, and a Led Zeppelin tune.

Menzel is best described as ‘quirky’ and this unevenly paced and toned production is a reflection of that. At times utterly distant: there’s little dialogue in the first 20 minutes or so save the occasional ‘thank you’, then in turn confessional: disclosures about her divorce from actor Taye Diggs, her relationship with her son and her recent engagement, then utterly accessible: chatting and singing with fans. The result, though keeping the audience on its toes, is a little unsettling at times – there’s no build of excitement and in the moments when the audience has the chance to get truly engaged it crashes to earth with another sensitive ballad. As a huge fan, and someone who has seen her in concert and in stage roles many times, it all seemed a little too self-involved, even for a performer as kooky as Menzel. Engaging – yes, entertaining – yes, a bit all over the place – a definite yes.

Menzel is a unique talent, and despite a few wavering notes, still in fine form. Not her best, her previous UK tours had more impact, but still packing a punch and still with the power to move.

REVIEW: Bond and Beyond – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Since 1962, no movie franchise has conjured up an image of glamour, intrigue and mystery quite like the Bond films. The locations might change, the villains might change, even the Bonds are ever-changing but the one thing that remains the same is the big, block-busting theme music.

Conductor and arranger Clive Dunstall and the Scottish Concert Orchestra take that most constant feature of the movies and present an evening that showcases the best of 50 years of Bond music.

With 25 movies to choose from you would be forgiven for thinking that there was enough material for a concert, but Dunstall has enhanced and extended the programme above and beyond Bond by including a series of ‘suites’ based upon themes from the world’s best-loved cop shows: there are medleys of “British”, “Female” and “American Detectives” interspersed throughout, which, much to the delight of the audience, added a ‘name that tune’ competition element to the show.

The playing from the Scottish Concert Orchestra is an absolute delight, a fact that is made all the more astonishing when we learn that the afternoon’s concert was presented after only two and a half hours of rehearsal that morning, it remains tight and on-point throughout. But it is the two guest singers, West End veterans Tim Howar and Louise Dearman who are the outstanding highlight of the performance. The sheer diversity of styles they have to recreate is jaw-dropping, that they do it with such style, panache and power is impressive. Both have exquisitely toned voices, with vast ranges which they utilise effortlessly and to great effect.

Like Bond himself this is a classy affair; a top notch programme, first-rate singers and a world-class orchestra – an afternoon’s entertainment of the highest order.