Holmfirth Picturedrome


  • Chloe Glover
  • Joan Armatrading at the Picturedrome in Holmfirth Joan Armatrading at the Picturedrome in Holmfirth

    holmfirthstars

    Heralded as one of the UK’s most inspiring singer-songwriters, Joan Armatrading made a triumphant return to Holmfirth to highlight her status and very respectable back catalogue

    With a career spanning over five decades, the Caribbean-born and Birmingham-raised singer-songwriter walked out to yet another sell-out audience on her extensive list of intimate shows. Show number 110 of her remarkable first solo and sadly final world tour, she opened with 1972 favourite ‘City Girl’ from her debut album, Whatever’s For Us.

    Armatrading spent the next 90 minutes alone with simply a guitar and keyboard, reciting a set which aimed to include a least one song from each of her 20 albums. Among the more popular songs from a stunning back catalogue were ‘All the Way from America’, ‘Down to Zero’, ‘Drop the Pilot’, ‘Me, Myself and I’ and the breath-taking ‘The Weakness in Me’, which left the capacity crowd in admiration. Armatrading displayed her diversity by delving into reggae territory favourite, ‘Rosie’ and blues-esque ‘My Baby’s Gone’.

    Through it all it was evident how empowering Armatrading has become and how captivating she is on stage.

    She drew on her influences and set out the path for all who have followed in her footsteps. The distinctive and irrepressible voice remains as did her relaxed sense of humour. Reminiscing on stage with a pre-built photographic slideshow, Armatrading talked the audience through her upbringing and career highlights.

    This showcased her many accolades, including the 1978 Bob Dylan concert at Blackbushe Aerodrome near Camberley, which still holds the record for largest single day-crowd. She also relived the 20th anniversary of democracy celebration in South Africa where she was invited as the only non-South African artist and went on to meet the late Nelson Mandela.

    The anthemic ‘Love and Affection’ drew an extended applause and was among the more welcomed songs on the night. Armatrading opted for a more unconventional encore by remaining on stage, soaking up the admiration and love in the room. She ushered the crowd into the set closing ‘Willow’ which was echoed by the choir voices in the Yorkshire audience.

    The Huddersfield Daily Examiner