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CHRISTOPHER CROSS Bloomsbury Theatre
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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'.
was the oldies that the exclusively middle-aged audience wanted to hear,
such as 'Sailing', which some see as the signature of the 'yacht rock'
movement, 'Think of Laura' and 'I Really Don't Know Anymore'.
while I expected this to be a mellow evening, the pace, which had begun
at quite a lively tempo, progressively dropped noticeably with a series
of slow songs.
still some gems with the harmonies on 'In The Blink Of An Eye' worthy of
Crosby Stills and Nash or Simon and Garfunkel, but some of the other
songs were almost soporific, while 'Does It Feel Like Christmas' confirmed
my prejudices that, other than Slade, no one has managed to write a
Christmas song that doesn't sound schmaltzy.
momentum was restored in the last part of the set as Christopher paid
tribute to the acting and piano skills of Dudley Moore - as well as
having a pop at the remake, to universal applause! - before playing his
big UK hit 'Arthur's Song', followed by a lively 'Ride Like The Wind'. That
even persuaded a few people in front of me to stand up and 'Dad Dance' ,
though subconsciously I kept expecting the band to emulate the bombast
of Saxon's cover version!
seemed the most obvious note on which to end, but they were warmly
applauded back for an enjoyable encore of the slightly calypso flavoured
'Say You'll Be Mine'.
At 2 hours
and 15 minutes, he and his talented band provided excellent value for
money, and, even if the set did sag in places, this was an evening to
prove that Christopher Cross can be taken out of the 'whatever happened
to' file and still has much to offer lovers of the more chilled out side