Reviewer: Lauren Maughan
Picture the scene. The sun is shining, the skies are blue and the music is upbeat and uplifting. No you’re not on a paradise island, but on night out with Billy Ocean.
Ocean’s still got it. His smile is infectious, his dance moves make you want to jump out of your seats and the hits still sound as good as they do on the radio. Ocean combines the old belters, with some of his newer tracks from the album Here You Are. A Simple Game stands out from the pack and is a catchy number that you’ll be singing all the way home. But it’s clear that the audience are really here to listen to his string of disco hits. After 40 minutes of waiting, we’re hit with Love Really Hurts Without You and there’s barely an audience member who’s sat in their seats – now the show’s really started!
Ocean combines his soul and reggae influences to craft his own sound which is inspired by his heroes. Bob Marley is a particular inspiration and he pays tribute by doing his own rendition of No Woman No Cry – a nice and peaceful number between the motion of the Ocean. Ocean is also a professional at the slower numbers too. Suddenly and The Colour of Love are particular highlights that show off his soulful instrument.
It’s not long before he gets back into his string of hits. Red Light Spells Danger, When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going and Get Outta My Dream, Get Into My Car all prove to be big crowd pleasers. There are no fans quite like Ocean’s. They adore him and he interacts with the audience, invites them up to stage and gives a few audience members’ nights that extra bit of sparkle. He’s clearly a cheeky chappy and the audience love it!
Ocean’s support comes in the form of three backing signers who all do a fantastic job. And the rest of the band are great with the saxophonist being a particular highlight. Ocean’s voice becomes slightly harder to hear at certain points during the night, maybe he was saving himself for the more powerful hits, but it doesn’t really matter, the crowd are just pleased to see Ocean having a ball just like he would have done 30 years ago.
The finale is one of his most famous; Caribbean Queen. The audience sing along with Ocean and makes sure the king of soul ends his night with a standing ovation. If you’ve always wanted to see Ocean, get it out of your dreams, get into your car and get yourself a ticket!
Reviewed on Monday, 17 April