Review: Paul Carrack, Queen’s Hall

Paul Carrack
Paul Carrack
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Like a bull in a china shop.

****

That’s hardly the way to describe Paul Carrack and his smooth, sophisticated septet. More used to playing large halls, the 60-year-old songwriter insinuated that the Queen’s Hall’s smaller, comfier confines may prove too delicate a venue for such a big band bestowing two drummers.

On the contrary, such an intimate setting provided fans with a rare chance to hear classic songs they might normally have to stand at the back of a stadium or concert hall to listen to.

However, Carrack isn’t what you would call a showman. He doesn’t partake in organised onstage tomfoolery, employs no cheap gimmicks, and, judging by his simplistic black-jacket-black-hat attire, isn’t one for making fashion statements, either. He simply let’s the music do the talking. And boy, does it.

From the suave soul of his first ever hit, How Long, to the mellow pop of Tempted, which he recorded with Squeeze, from classic rock (Over My Shoulder) to soft-rock tunes penned for The Eagles (I Don’t Want To Hear Anymore, Love Will Keep Us Alive), it’s little wonder the likes of Eric Clapton, Elton John and Roger Waters have all wanted to work with him.

It was all too much for one fan, though. Not exactly shy in letting the entire hall know how much she was enjoying the show, an usher politely asked her to sit down.

However, once the cavalry arrived – aka Carrack’s many female admirers – not even a police squad armed with pepper spray could stop them all charging down the front and dancing their wee cotton socks off.

Switching between piano and guitar, the Sheffield-born singer’s new songs are clear hits waiting to be performed by those with more pop-star appeal. Better Than Nothing showcased the band’s ability to groove in a Steely Dan/ Average White Band-like manner. And the only thing stopping the show from gaining another star was some visual, onstage flamboyancy.

Indeed, while charisma may not be Carrack’s strength, his tremendous singing and ability to provide fans with a highly professional performance that’s value for money most certainly is.