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The Lowry, Salford, 1 April 2012
After one of the worst experiences of my gig going life - Joe
Bonamassa's painfully high volume set at the Liverpool Echo Arena - it
was nice to return an altogether more cultured evening of entertainment
in the presence of Judie Tzuke.
It's a sad indictment of the times that she was unable to attract
sufficient interest to put on a Liverpool gig, and that on her current
'One Tree Less' tour she was playing a smaller hall at the Salford Lowry
than on her retrospective 'Moon On A Mirrorball' tour 18 months ago.
those attending it made for a wonderfully intimate date with an artist
who continues to quietly ply her trade with grace and fortitude.
Yes, this was the complete antithesis to the Bonamassa gig, and better
for it in every way. And while both artists' music is steeped in
subtleties, Judie's is served with warmth and humility whereas Joe's
egotistical posturing and crude volume levels did nothing to enhance his
reputation in my eyes.
But tonight was about a woman whose catalogue now stretches to 17 albums
over 33 years, and whose output since forming her own Big Moon Records
label in 1996 has just got better, and better. Her latest offering 'One
Tree Less', picks up the threads of her recent work and is another
the set naturally focused on that release, she included in it a decent
selection from just about every part of her career.
an unplugged set with nothing but a grand piano in tow
suffering from stage fright and not altogether comfortable in the
spotlight, her band of Graeme Kearns (guitar), Jimmy Sims (bass), Jonny
Dyke (keyboards), Matt Racher (drums),and and daughter Bailey (backing
vocals) provided a comfort blanket that for the most part kept her, at
least, looking happy and confident.
It has to be said though, that some of the finest moments of the set
were when the support was minimal, for example on ''Till It's Over' from
the new album, and 'If (When You Go)' from 'Moon On A Mirrorball'. It was in
those quiet moments that the beauty of her vocals was fully exposed. Oh,
for an unplugged set with nothing but a grand piano in tow.
On this showing it's Judie Tzuke who should be playing arenas, or venues
like the Royal Albert Hall. But, you can't help but feel she prefers the
more 'homely' intimacy of the smaller venue. She may look more a bit
more homely these days, but I'll let you into a secret, that gives me a rather
comforting and warm feeling. Just like her music. Wonderful.
Setlist: Enjoy The Ride / One Tree Less / Submarine Boy / Moving Target
/ The Other Side / Sukarita / If (When You Go) / 'Till It's Over / Bring
The Rain / How Sweet It Is / While She Sleeps / Joy / Living On The
Coast / Vivien / Human Kind / Joan Of Arc / Sportscar / Stay With Me
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