Review: Susan Boyle, Ten Tour opens in Edinburgh and the people's champion reigns supreme

SUSAN BOYLE is a global phenomenon, of that there is no doubt, yet when she walks tentatively on stage for the first song of the first date of her Ten Tour, the nervous smile and humble demeanour that won the hearts of millions at that first Britain’s Got Talent audition a decade ago are still evident.
Susan Boyle awaits her near capacity audienceSusan Boyle awaits her near capacity audience
Susan Boyle awaits her near capacity audience

USHER HALL, Lothian Road

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The ‘People’s Champion’ is home, well near as damn it, and it feels as though the whole of Blackburn and the surrounding areas have made the trip to the Capital to see ‘their’ Susan. Her fans have also travelled from around the world to be here and consequently, the 58-year-old comes on to a standing ovation before she sings a single note.

Backed by a four-piece band and members of the Soul Nation Choir, she opens with a rousing rendition of A Million Dreams from The Greatest Showman - dreams being a recurring theme throughout the evening.

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“Hello Edinburgh, Thank you all very much for coming...” she beams, before launching into the ever popular Stand By Me, followed by the first of the big hitters, I Know Him So Well.

There’s no Elaine Page, but guest singer Stephanie proves every bit her match.

Then it’s straight into Wild Horses, the first song of the night to bring the house down, although while Boyle sings, the silence in the near capacity hall is complete. There’s a mesmeric quality to her performance, the boldness of her vocals accompanied by an ever present fragility that endears.

Mixing it up a bit, a laid back jazzy rendition of Cry Me A River is followed by Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera, a duet with BGT 2011 winner Jai McDowall, who earlier opened the show with a half-hour set, his rich sonorous tones and friendly banter warming up the audience.

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Highlights of the second act include Somewhere Out There, touchingly performed with Chris Judge, and rocking versions of River Deep, Mountain High and Proud Mary. Each demonstrate the versatility and power Boyle has at her command, but it is I Dreamed A Dream that has the audience on their feet again. Simply mesmerising.

With mischievous humour never far from the surface, Boyle finishes with Abba’s Thank You For The Music, and a sing-along that is a fitting finale for the lass from Blackburn who found her voice at her local karaoke and is now living her dream.

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