429 Records [Release date 11.11.16]
Hardly the most ‘original’ of titles for Joan Armatrading’s globetrotting swansong, but befitting as, believe it or not, her ‘farewell’ tour which lasted almost two years, and saw her play 235 dates across four different continents was the first time she had gone truly ‘solo’ with just her guitars and keyboard.
And she’s in fine vocal fettle, reeling off classics like ‘All The Way From America’, ‘Love And Affection’, ‘Me Myself I’, ‘Down To Zero’, ‘Drop The Pilot’, ‘The Weakness In Me’ and ‘Willow’ across the course of a 90 minute set.
It’s an evening in the presence of an old friend and a remarkable achievement for a girl brought up from the age of seven amongst the inner city decay of Birmingham. Her worldwide success would be almost impossible to replicate in the digital age.
But, as good as her performance is, and it is very good, there are a couple of gripes. Firstly, Joan isn’t entirely ‘solo’ – on some numbers backing tapes are used, and it just seems a bit ‘weird’ when strings, harmonica and sax mysteriously emerge from the PA. Her performance simply doesn’t need them.
And secondly, as I understand it, the tour included a decent amount of banter between numbers with the audience. That appears to have been largely edited out – presumably to ‘marry’ the DVD audio and CD soundtracks. It would have made for a more engaging watch, if that had been left in.
So in what isn’t an overly visual performance, the DVD doesn’t add much to the CD soundtrack, and you might be better looking elsewhere – for example, Live At The Royal Albert Hall DVD – if you want to enjoy Joan’s company from the comfort of your favourite armchair. ***
Review by Pete Whalley
On Sunday 28 July 2019, David Randall celebrated his 600th show. “Assume The Position” started in June 2007 on UK City Radio before transferring a year later to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio. The show includes tracks played on the first show plus Upton Blues Festival highlights, new music and the regular features “Live Legends” and “Anniversary Rock” which this week celebrates the Island Records label 60th anniversary.
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Power Plays w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)
BEFORE FIRE Dead Eyes (indie)
SCOTT & MARIA Never Give Up (indie)
CORELEONI Queen Of Hearts (AFM Records)
BERLIN Transcendance (Cleopatra Records)
PHIL CAMPBELL These Old Boots (Nuclear Blast)
PHIL LANZON Blue Mountain (Phil Lanzon Ditties/Cargo Records UK)
Featured Albums w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 SOLEIL MOON Warrior (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 ROXY BLUE Roxy Blue (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 DREW HOLCOMB & THE NEIGHBORS Dragons (Magnolia Music/Thirty Tigers)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
JAMES STEVENSON Everything’s Getting Closer To Being Over (2013)
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