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Marc Almond, Symphony Hall, Birmingham - review with pictures

By Kirsten Rawlins | Birmingham | Music | Published:

No one pours passion into a performance quite like Marc Almond.

Marc Almond. Pictures by: Dave Cox

He may have been in the business for more than 40 years, but the Soft Cell icon still adores his work - and he made this abundantly clear with his heartfelt, almost theatrical show at the Symphony Hall last night.

Springing on to the stage smiling from ear to ear, the 61-year-old star announced he had no real reason to be touring on this occasion with ‘nothing to flog’, but simply fancied getting back under the spotlight.

“It’s better than staying at home watching box sets,” laughed Marc.

Marc Almond. Pictures by: Dave Cox
Marc Almond. Pictures by: Dave Cox

“I might as well make the most of it before my knees give out.”

The Southport-born singer-songwriter treated fans to a wildly varied set, paying tribute to the late Scott Walker, David Bowie, Billy Fury and more, as well as performing a selection of his own beloved hits.

His cover of Charles Aznavour’s What Makes A Man stood out in particular. Singing on a darkened stage beneath a smokey white spotlight backed by just a piano, Marc enchanted the crowd as he acted out each line of the poignant piece; his strong, wide ranging vocals delivering the song with power and skill.

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Marc Almond. Pictures by: Dave Cox
Marc Almond. Pictures by: Dave Cox

A rousing rendition of Mary Hopkin’s Those Were The Days, meanwhile, later had the near-rowdy audience clapping along and interacting with the lyrics.

The different reactions Marc was able to produce with each style of song was a great display of his ability to charm and influence the crowd - one of his many unique talents which makes him such a tremendous live performer.

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He was backed throughout the show by a band of highly-gifted musicians and singers, playing instruments which included the violin, piano, double bass, synth, accordion and more - a hugely varied set required them to perform in a wide array of different styles and they did so brilliantly.

Marc Almond. Pictures by: Dave Cox
Marc Almond. Pictures by: Dave Cox

My personal favourites were Marc’s covers of David Bowie numbers Starman and John, I’m Only Dancing, which he sang faultlessly and performed with the animation and spirit he is so renowned for.

And though they were a little too few and far between, superb renditions of Marc’s own material of course went down brilliantly, with Say Hello, Wave Goodbye and Tainted Love inspiring fans to spring to their feet to dance and sing along.

Marc is consistently outstanding when it comes to performing live; his ability to deliver songs with such emotion, vibrancy and energy is absolutely unrivalled - and last night was no different.

Marc Almond. Pictures by: Dave Cox

He returns to Birmingham on May 26 to perform at the city’s Pride festival.

Kirsten Rawlins

By Kirsten Rawlins
@kirsten_Star

Online Entertainment Editor for the Express & Star and Shropshire Star. E-mail me kirsten.rawlins@expressandstar.co.uk, or phone 01902 319368

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