CentralConcertLive Music/GigMusicReview

Peter Andre – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Reviewer: James Garrington

Peter Andre’s Come Swing With Me tour is promoting Andre’s recent album Come Fly With Me, which is predominantly made up of swing classics, such as Mac the Knife and You Make Me Feel So Young: music made popular by the late Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack back in the day. As the advertising says, it brings “the authentic swingin’ sounds of the Rat Pack classics…to life” with a band that can “mash-up swing with fresh versions of his older hits.”

It is not unreasonable, then, to go along filled with anticipation of an evening of swing music, a mixture of classics and swing versions of some Peter Andre back catalogue. Buy a ticket with that expectation, though, and you will be sadly disappointed.

As usual the evening starts with support acts, and opening proceedings here is Tiger Heart, a girl band who suffer from being hugely over-amplified given the acoustics at Symphony Hall. Their set is short, mostly comprising a loud, driving drum and bass accompaniment which almost entirely drowns out the vocals – which is a shame, as they show some good harmonies during the one unaccompanied number that they perform. Following Tiger Heart is Daughters of Davis, who play music with a soul/folk feel. Their busking roots are clearly evident as they present a half-hour of music and chat, showing some good voices and interesting songwriting skills, based on their own personal journeys.

Finally, after yet another support – this time Andre’s brother Chris – Peter Andre takes the stage and launches into Prince’s 1999 as part of an evening consisting almost entirely of back catalogue and other pop covers, with a distinctly unswing-like feel – it’s loud, it’s full of flashing lights, and it feels just like a regular pop concert. On we blast through numbers such as Pharrell Williams’ Happy and Justin Timberlake’s Cry Me a River until 40 minutes into his set we finally get Come Fly With Me, with Andre announcing it as a “taste of what’s to come later”. When he sings this style of music he shows a very good voice, and while he may not have Sinatra’s natural interpretation skills it is certainly very listenable and enjoyable.

That is merely a brief interlude, though, as the frantic pace then continues through Never Gonna Give You Up before a rare respite with a ballad version of Mysterious Girl followed shortly by Fly Me To The Moon, and Ain’t That a Kick In The Head. And that, as they say, is your lot, as the concert wraps up back in pop mode with Justin Bieber’s Sorry and a full-on version of Mysterious Girl.

There is no doubt that what he does, he does very well, and his legion of fans clearly love it. Andre is a versatile performer able to produce classic pop, reggae and swing with ease. He also shows great energy, and a good ability to engage with the audience, picking people out to go on stage to chatand making his own way down into the crowd during the numbers.

Go along because you are a fan of Peter Andre, and you will probably be fine – like many appreciative fans in the Symphony Hall audience; but go along because you are a fan of swing – and there seemed to be more than a few of those there too, many of whom left way before the end – and you might well be very disappointed. There is precious little swing, precious little from the recent swing-based album, and precious little respite from the almost incessant wall of sound. This reviewer, for one, turned up excited by memories of Robbie Williams and Swing When You’re Winning, but instead left Symphony Hall three hours later with senses battered, ears ringing and feeling more than a little misled by the advertising.

Definitely not what it says on the tin.

Reviewed on 19 March 2016 and on tour | Image: Contributed

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The Central team is under the editorship of Selwyn Knight. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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One Comment

  1. Peter Andre put on a fab show at the BIC..any fan of Pete’s knows when you go to his concert you will be screaming for more by the end. He has an amazing voice and is an amazing entertainer especially when the MJ in him comes out…no matter what songs he has prepared you are guaranteed a brilliant night…Top show Pete, looking forward to the next. ?

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