For a little bit of change of pace from last weeks review of An Orange Conspiracy at the Twa Tams I decided to check out Barbara Dickson at Perth Concert Hall. The concert hall has hosted some great gigs since it opened its doors in 2005 and on February 28th Barbara and her band were in town as part of their In Good Company tour. I arrived a little harassed and shattered from a long shift at my day job and I have to admit that I was quite grateful that it was a seated affair as I sunk into my seat and prepared to let the music wash over me.
Dunfermline born Barbara Dickson has had a storied career in the music industry. Starting off in 1960’s as part of the Scottish folk music scene alongside such legends as Gerry Rafferty and Billy Connolly, before moving into musical theatre earning critical acclaim and working with heavyweights such as Willie Russell and Andrew Lloyd Webber. It is perhaps no surprise that we were treated to an eclectic set of songs where the hits such as January February and Caravan (a real crowd favourite) rub shoulders with American and Celtic Folk.
Dickson is also renowned for working with great musicians and her current regular band are no exception. Brad Lang is a really tremendous bass player (he played on ABC’s Lexicon of Love!) and his brother in rhythm Russell Field is a really versatile drummer. Guitarist Troy Donockley (he looks like a trim Bill Bailey!) really earns his keep playing a host of instruments including Uilleann bagpipes and Cumbrian Bouzouki, and Nick Holland tickles the ivories and provides vocals on a cracking interpretation of Dylan’s The Times They are a Changing.
I have to admit I’m not the biggest musical theatre fan (unless you count The South Park movie) but I found myself enjoying Bertolt Brecht’s The Wife of a Soldier immensely, and performing the spine tingling Tell Me It’s Not True from Blood Brothers, Dickson wrings out every last drop of emotion with a bravura vocal.
Other highlights of the evening included a great version of the Everly Brothers Love Hurts beginning with an amazing Accapella vocal from Barbara who by this point is firing on all cylinders and a great arrangement of Gerry Rafferty’s Family Tree (she actually sung backing vocals on the original Night Owl recording back in the day). However, the real standout for me were the two Beatles covers. Fool on the Hill finds Troy Donockley playing a string arrangement on a computer mouthpiece called an Aerophone and features some great harmonies from the band. The final song Across the Universe manages to be both chill and epic at the same time and features some really great percussion and drum fills. A great version of a timeless song that elicits a standing ovation from the audience.
After the show Barbara sticks around for a meet and greet and to sign programmes and cd’s for her fans and to pose for a slightly blurry picture with your Small City Big Personality live music correspondent.
Barbara Dickson had a collection for Nordoff music therapy at the concert hall. Find out more about her chosen charity Here>>>
For More Information on Upcoming Events at Perth Concert Hall Check Out Their Directory Listing Here >>>