Review: The Pierces, Queen’s Hall

The Pierces. Pic: PA
The Pierces. Pic: PA
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Wonderful voices, soaring harmonies and a tight country-pop repertoire, so why does it feel like The Pierce Sisters are missing something?

At the Queen’s Hall for the opening night of their UK tour, Alabama-born duo Allison and Catherine Pierce and their band performed a slick hour-long set of a dozen or so numbers, peppered with Radio 2 staples.

It was a bit unfortunate, but not disastrous, that the one cock-up of the night was a false start for their biggest hit, the 2011 breakthrough You’ll Be Mine, which closed the main show. It didn’t bother the room full of Radio 2 listeners who did what Radio 2 listeners do and gently swayed to a selection of songs which never approached anything like frenetic.

Which is just as well because for most of the crowd, those knees probably aren’t what they used to be.

Apart from the re-start of You’ll Be Mine, each song was pretty much reproduced as recorded, which while impressive makes for a somewhat sterile experience. Love You More, I will not be Forgotten and Kings went down particularly well, but if anything the night felt one-paced which might be why such talented performers are still playing venues this size.

The sisters have such beautiful voices, but the night lacked real emotion and the only point which came close to moving was the spine-tingling unaccompanied duet in the encore.

Anything country needs tension and spark and despite their songs being about love and heartache, they just seemed too darned happy. Maybe what they need is a couple of blokes they have loved and left to sing with. Think of the great female duets and there are usually some broken relationships in there to bring the whole thing to the boil. Fleetwood Mac, Mammas and Papas and, yes, Abba. There was a lot more to the music than just the words and the harmonies. Still, their fans went home happy enough and with the show over by 10.15, there was plenty of time for a cuppa and still be up bright and early for work.

STAR RATING: ****

JOHN MCLELLAN