Live Music/GigNorth WestReview

An Evening with Hazel O’Connor – Waterside Arts Centre, Sale

Reviewer: Richard Hall

Hazel O’Connor burst onto the 80s music scene when she played the lead role in the iconic filmBreaking Glass. O’Connor played Kate, a would-be singer/songwriter in a fledging punk band, mirroring at the time what was happening in her own life. Co-starring Jonathan Pryce and Phil Daniels, the film was a critical and commercial success and spawned a double platinum album featuring the hit singles, Eighth Day and Will You.

Thirty-five years later, in this entertaining concert comprising two sets and a meet and greet, O’Connor revisits the songs that launched her musical career. She also finds time to sing some classic jazz standards, perform a selection of new songs and talk openly and frankly about her life and career including inevitably the making of Breaking Glass.

Although she is now in her mid-50s, O’Connor is as feisty and passionate as ever and clearly revels performing in front of a live audience. Her vocals are flawless, imbued with a lifetime’s experience of hard knocks and setbacks. Each song is laced with layers of emotional sincerity, especially the timeless Will You, perhaps one of the best torch songs ever written. If ever a solo artist deserves to be rediscovered for a mass audience then based on this performance surely O’Connor is it.

On stage for over two hours with no support act, O’Conner enjoys a wonderful rapport with the audience. She is brilliantly accompanied by Sarah Fisher on keyboards and Clare Hirst on sax, who together have a pedigree to match O’Connor’s, having previously played with the late David Bowie, The Communards and Eurythmics.

As she left the stage most of the audience, this reviewer included, applauded not only her gutsy performance but also for one night at least, the opportunity to revisit a special and unique slice of 80s popular culture. Watching O’Connor in full flow is as good a time as any to be reminded of the impact that Breaking Glass and its classic soundtrack had on its release, the influences of which are still very much with us today.

Reviewed on 6 March 2016 | Image: Contributed

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