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Liverpool, Philharmonic Hall 20 October 2007
Brian Kennedy abandoned all but one of his band, ditched his suit and tore up the setlist and then casually walked on to the stage at one of Liverpool's most prestigious venues, packed to the rafters, and provided a performance that will be cemented into the audience's memories for years to come.
After the obligatory half-hour support act - (Steve Roberts) - a local lad from Waterloo, who conjured up songs about taxi journeys from Speke, his Mother-in-law and New Brighton's nightclubs - the lights brightened to reveal a relatively well populated auditorium. Not a bad attendance, considering that there was a bit of a rugby match on the telly. However, as BK's appearance became imminent,this soon became a capacity audience when the orders were bellowed for the stragglers to leave the bar.
The lights dimmed once again and his backing band for the night, Callum MacColl, took his place on stage to receive Mr. Kennedy, whose arrival was greeted with a bit of a gasp due his shorn locks and attire of black t-shirt & jeans.
It could only have been Brian Kennedy as he grabbed his guitar and launched straight into one of the songs from his latest album. I've forgotten the title already because, like Brian, I didn't make a setlist.
That was the plan, as far as songs were concerned, totally ad-libbed from the off and all requests from the lively bunch of Liverpudlians were thrown into the mix. That is the beauty of the live performance. Expect anything, for when the singer has such quality and the songs are established favourites, the outcome is guaranteed enjoyment.
For his part, Brian was totally at home with the mass of Merseysiders. One request was for Christopher Street, which he repeated back in an acceptable Scouse dialect. This banter was stepped up a further notch as an American shouted his request which received a similar mimic.
On Brian's CV you will find that he has performed in Riverdance, been a backing singer with Van Morrison, accompanied countless other artistes ranging from Lulu to Sinead O'Connor and has represented Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest.
Album releases are well into double figures, and two songs from his next album, Interpretations, was represented in the show. As you can guess from the title, Interpretations will be comprised of cover versions, and I for one can't wait for its release. If Clifford T Ward's Gay and Declan O'Rourke's Gallileo are anything to go by. I'm currently nursing a cold, the streaming eyes and runny nose were a brilliant excuse to get the hankie out for Clifford's cover.
His main set closed with Put The Message In The Box and returned with a 2 song encore. The first being last year's Irish Eurovision entry,Every Song Is A Cry For Love and, for any potential X-Factor entrants, a beautiful off-mic delivery of You Raise Me Up..... yes, the one that Westlife did, but go and find a copy of Brian's....
I joined the queue at the CD table after the show and picked up On Song and On Song 2, the latter had Beautiful Dreamer on it. I just had to play that one before resting my head, especially as it is a duet with Moya Brennan. Moya is appearing at this venue the night after....and I have tickets.
Review by Graham Ashmore
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