Reviewer: Rich Jevons
Some two years on since Marc Almond came to Leeds Town Hall to celebrate the release of The Velvet Trail which was followed by a recital of torch songs with the pop orchestra of Leeds College of Music, we are now treated to Almond alongside a vocal chorus, strings and brass section with the Musical Director at the grand piano.
Proceedings commence with Shadows and Reflections, the title track of his new album, brimming with melancholy and nostalgia about relationships, longing for the past and sadness in the present. Almond delves back to his Enchanted days with the Hispanic-influenced Orpheus in Red Velvet with passionate and fiery emotions.
Still I’m Sad has distant echoes of a Western soundtrack with its plaintive romanticism, while Not For Me is full of self-deprecating irony but not quite self-pretty or morose. Then there is the blast of the sixties cover Days of Pearly Spencer from Tenement Symphony which again allows the strings to stand out and Almond once more depicts days past and moments gone but not forgotten. The Billy Fury cover Blue on Blue continues the melancholy theme crooning on sadness and despairing heartache over a lost love.
Then we are treated to another old favourite Somethings Gotten Hold of My Heart performed with all the freshness and verve that heralded its release in the late Eighties in a duet with the late Gene Pitney. Just Good Friends is a tale of denial and duplicity with the string section really coming into its own.
From The Velvet Trail, Scar is set in a beautiful acapella arrangement followed by an exquisite track from Marc’s Russian period, The Sun Will Arise. Themes of loss and separation are again captured in Winter Sun while Child Star addresses the fear of ageing and growing jaded.
The pace picks up for the recent single A Kind of Love, describing the strangeness of romantic liaisons. From the first bars of Torch onwards, the audience really comes alive, getting to their feet and into the aisles for this beautiful ballad. Another gem from Tenement Symphony is My Hand Over My Heart which transforms the crowd into a state of ecstasy.
Finally, some classic Northern Soul segues into Marc’s biggest smash hit Tainted Love and the farewell encore is Say Hello Wave Goodbye. What more can be said about this concert? Simply brilliant.
Touring nationally until 26 October 2017 | Image: Contributed