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CHRISTOPHER CROSS Bloomsbury Theatre
7 November 2011

Call it soft rock, Adult Contemporary or even the more recently coined Yacht Rock, but the late seventies and early eighties saw some great mellow, yet musicianly and soulful sounds.

The West Coast was the spiritual home of much of this stuff, yet it was a Texan, Christopher Cross who emerged from obscurity to be one of the biggest, Grammy winning artists in the genre with a multi million selling debut album.

By the middle of the eighties, his hit making period was over as musical fashions changed and I must admit I had no idea he was still musically active until this rare London theatre date.

Stocky and in grey suit and hat, he comes over as an unassuming character, allowing all his band to take the stage first and introducing them while, after a series of technical hitches earlier, I sensed he was forced to ad lib longer than he wished as he tuned up a series of guitars.

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His voice is still crystal clear, reminding me of Peter Cetera or a better preserved Elton John, and he can still slip with ease into a falsetto, which combined with the high harmonies of keyboard player Kiki Ebsen and bassist Chazz Frichtel to create a soaring sound.

The band were tight and favoured by an excellent sound but special mention must go to Andy Suzuki whose playing on a variety of saxophones was a key part of the overall sound, especially on songs like Never Be The Same. Indeed I reckoned sax solos outnumbered guitar solos by about four to one, although Christopher showed himself to be a fine lead guitarist when the occasion demanded.

After a lively opener in 'All Right' and his tribute to Steely Dan influences in 'Deputy Dan', 'Hey Kid' was the first of many songs from his new 'Doctor Faith' album, his first of all new material in over a decade.

Many of them were quite impressive, notably 'I'm Too Old For This', which saw him in surprisingly acid grumpy old man mode and which reminded me of Glenn Frey, 'Dreamers' with two keyboards doubling up, 'Leave It To Me', and the sparse arrangements of 'November'.

Christopher Cross, photo by David Tickle
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