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Cape Town Review

It is not often that we have the privilege of seeing one of the world’s greatest musicians performing live on stage. Thanks to Real Concerts, Cape Town had the honour last night, when Joan Armatrading played at the CTICC. Her entrance on stage was greeted by a standing ovation, before she even opened her mouth.

Before she came on stage though, the audience was treated to the fresh-faced Jesse Clegg, who enthralled us with a rousing version of Sinnerman (first made famous by Nina Simone). He then introduced his newest single, released two days ago, Use Me. It’s good. Watch this space.

Not for nothing has Joan Armatrading had a career spanning over 40 years, 18 albums and a list of hits as long as your arm. From the first song to the last, her iconic voice brought goose bumps to the flesh and tears to the eyes.

The concert, billed ‘A Very Special Solo Evening with Joan Armatrading’ was a musical trip through her career as she moved between guitars and piano, playing a mix of much beloved hits and her less well-known ones. Armatrading caresses each instrument like a lover, and they respond accordingly, eliciting standing ovations from the audience numerous times.

Between songs, Armatrading was personable and funny. Mid-concert we were treated to a slide show of pictures of her career – the people she’s met, the places she’s been, the awards she’s won. She talked the audience through it, making funny, wry comments throughout, allowing a glimpse into her stardom.

Through an incredible, electric rendition of Me, Myself, I, we were reminded that, despite her 64 years, Joan Armatrading is the kind of rock star who never gets old. She is a musical genius. What an honour to witness her in an intimate venue like the CTICC.

My favourite moment? When, during the slide show during In These Times, a picture of Nelson Mandela showed and the audience erupted. Now that’s goose bump material.

Joan Amatrading performed at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on 4 & 5 July 2015.

Additional Info

  • Author / Writer Nwabisa Mbana
  • Date Tuesday, 07 July 2015

The Concert Hall New York


Joan Armatrading Delights in Career Retrospective


She isn't calling it a farewell tour, but after more than forty years performing all over the world, Joan Armatrading had previously announced that her current marathon trek will be her final global jaunt. The operative word here isn't so much "final" as "major." The British singer-songwriter has firmly stated in press releases that she will never retire. It's just that this 2014-2015 stretch through Australia, New Zealand, Europe, South Africa, the UK, and, now, this spring, North America, is to be her last such venture. From now on, it's all about packing lighter for shorter touring bouts.

For an artist who is largely thought of as a folk singer-songwriter, this is Armatrading's first solo tour and the first she's done without a backing band. Folk wasn't an obvious trait at her concert at the New York Society for Ethical Culture in Manhattan on April 17, especially as her main instrument was an electric guitar.

Armatrading's songs stand up well without embellishment, though the introduction of keys and string samples towards the end of the evening cluttered up the songs. In fact, one tune, the Eighties pop number "More Than One Kind of Love," had far more emotional and sonic power in a stripped-down setting that seemed tailor-made for Armatrading's catalog.

Her grasp of British Sarcasm, irony, and dry-dry wit is strong. She began the evening winding her audience up: "I thought I'd play a song from every album I've made," she said. Cue: deafening cheers. "But that's not going to happen." She picked up an electric guitar and went straight into the soulful "City Girl" from her 1972 debut Whatever's For Us. Before a monumental "All the Way From America" she said, "If you know it, join in. If you don't , then don't, because you'll spoil it," she joked with an impish grin.

Armatrading's main instrument is her earthy, throaty voice, which rose to a sparkling falsetto and fell in a melodious rumble. Sometimes it has a little yodel to it. "Promise Land" showed off its opulence and Joni Mitchell seemed a close musical compatriot. Like Mitchell, she tenderly tucks her voice into a song. "My Baby's Gone" had chunky Hendrix-y riffs and recalled Sixties psychedelic blues rock. "Me Myself I" was delivered with punk rock militant insistence, and "Rosie" pulsed with jaunty reggae.

In addition to the songs, which document her four-decade career, the screen at the back of the stage displayed a slide show of photos collected from Armatrading's life in music. She proudly narrated as the images flipped: there was Joan from the early Seventies, a tender tête-à-tête with the late Nelson Mandela in the Nineties, and then Armatrading anointed as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Aughts. Her life in music is all Armatrading is willing to part with publicly: she was born on the Caribbean island of Saint Kitts in 1950, but her life growing up working class in industrial Birmingham, a blue-collar city in the Midlands of the United Kingdom, didn't work its way into the evening's program.

Armatrading made her fans wait for the encore for the soul ballad "Willow," a huge touchstone for this and every audience. It's a "Let It Go"-type song about weathering life's ups and downs that champions both tenderness and strength. "Love And Affection" also conveyed similar duality: it was gentle and forceful, thoughtful and soaring, and not just through its lyrics, but in Armatrading's keen rhythmic sense. As with her ease with delivering a punch line, she knows how to softly and deftly strike a song's emotional core.

It was a different kind of "encore," dispensed without Joan leaving the stage, as per usual concerts. At the end of the main set, she said, "This is the end of the show. You've been to concerts before, you know what happens. I leave the stage, you cheer and shout, then I come back to do the encore. Instead I'm going to stay here." Folks cheered like she'd left the stage anyway, on and on they went. But then, at the beginning of the concert, they cheered the bejeezus out of the room before she played a note. Heaven forbid she ever retires. 

The Village Voice Blogs

Additional Info

  • Author / Writer Linda Laban
  • Date Saturday, 18 April 2015

Holmfirth Picturedrome


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

Additional Info

  • Author / Writer Chloe Glover

Birmingham Town Hall Concert Review

Joan Armatrading
Birmingham Town Hall

5 stars

THE Brummie singer-songwriter quite possibly played her last concert in Birmingham on Wednesday night and there was a distinct end-of-an-era feel to it.
At 65, the former schoolgirl from the Brookfields district of the city has made it clear that this will be her “last major tour” and, wandering on stage, she joked: “I came on here for something, but I can’t remember what.”

Then, three songs in, she announced that, because this was the 119th date of the tour and she was tired, she had decided to cut the concert short and this was to be her last song.
Appearing solo, without her customary band and with just a small selection of guitars and a piano, she then went on to captivate the audience for an hour-and-a-half.

Sparkling throughout with typically Brummie self-deprecating wit, she filled the Town Hall stage with the force of her personality, the power of her playing and, of course, that voice in a million on songs such as City Girl, from her first album way back in 1972.

alfway through, she introduced a slideshow of highlights from her four-decade career with a shot of the fresh-faced singer outside Ronnie Scott’s back in 1973.
There followed pictures of her with Paul McCartney, Elton John and Nelson Mandela, with her MBE and in the pages of the Beano.

To finish, she launched into a memorable rendition of Love And Affection, following it with other fan favourites Rosie, Drop The Pilot, Me Myself I and, as an encore, Willow – the crowd singing back to her the chorus raising the hairs on the back of the neck.


Additional Info

  • Author / Writer Michael Wood
  • Date Friday, 27 March 2015

Sage Gateshead Hall 1

This will be Joan Armatrading's last full world tour and it was lovely to see Hall 1 packed to the rafters for the occasion.

After a brief opening set by a Cornish band called The Sea Kings, Joan took to the stage, looking smart in a black ensemble. Her sense of humour was instantly apparent as she thanked us for being in a lovely venue.."I came out here to do something...I can't remember you ever find that you go into a room,come out and still can't remember why you went in? So, what are your plans for this evening?" Laughter was juxtaposed with music for the whole evening, as Joan peppered her set with one liners and wise cracks, ripples of laughter filling the room. "I'm making my way over to the piano now....I've arrived!" And teasing the audience three songs in that she was rather tired and thought she'd end the show there, are just two examples. I warmed to her instantly.

Most refreshing was that Joan didn't make us wait until the end for 'those songs,' instead she dropped them in throughout the set.  Every few minutes, it was like unwrapping another surprise as we were treated to another we'd been waiting for.

Throughout the set she accompanied herself, alternating between an assortment of guitars and piano. Also, behind her, was a screen projecting images and clips from her music videos, which gave many of the songs an additional layer of meaning.  The richness of her vocals completely belied her sixty four years. 

Hard as it was to choose, standout songs for me included All The Way From America, These Are The Times, Drop The Pilot, Love and Affection, Right on Target and Rosie. 

An unexpected, rather special, moment, came in the form of her talking us through a slideshow of images from her life in music. She is as good a storyteller as comedian and I could have listened to her all night. Most touching was the gratitude she exhibits for the experiences she has had and people she has met. As she talked about her day with Nelson Mandela, tears filled her eyes. I felt honoured that she shared the story with me and I'm sure I was not alone.

All too soon, the night was over and joking with us again she announced "I'm sure we all know what happens here, the artist leaves the stage, the audience claps and cheers and the artist comes back.  I'm just going to stand here while you do all that." She did, with a beaming smile of appreciation on her face which was a joy to see. Ending the night with Willow, she asked us all to sing with her, then to sing a chorus for her. How often do you get to sing someone's song to them?

Suffice it to say it was a wonderful night and I hope I also speak for everyone in Hall 1 when I say thank you Joan and Me Myself and I hope to see you back here very soon.

Additional Info

  • Author / Writer Joan Armatrading Concert Review Sage Newcastle

Philharmonic Liverpool

Joan Armatrading, Gig Review.

When a musician of the legendary status decides to announce the last days of major touring, the polite thing to do is to go and watch a marvel say their goodbyes somewhere, anywhere, on tour. For someone of the quality and assurance of Joan Armatrading, the decent and respectable thing to do is to turn up and be quiet apart from the large spontaneous applause at the end of each song. To generally bask in an absolute legend and trail blazer who came through the ranks and became a much admired figure, even with the still dreadful race relations that haunted 70s Britain.

Joan Armatrading has graced the Liverpool stage many times, but none perhaps as important as this, her final ever major world tour, some announcements just don’t seem right, some don’t sit well in the stomach of the fan. However, as Joan Armatrading played out her evening, the applause getting longer between songs, the humour and the smile getting broader, for those in the Philharmonic Hall, the music of the night would at least carry them home in good spirits.

For 40 years Ms. Armatrading has thrilled audiences to the point of jubilation and utter delight. Her voice has carried many over the threshold of insecurity and delivered them into soft, warm arms, ready to embrace and be kept safe. Yet perhaps for many in the aisles and in the boxes, this was the true moment of a distinguished career. The acid test and the defining section all rolled into one musical ball, whether the humour would hold up, the voice would play its part, after all she had already pointed out that this tour was well over the hundred mark, and whether the crowd could cope with not seeing her as often as they would like.

The set itself was long, beautifully so. The stage almost minimalistic, a token aspect to the important figure of the musician and the only instruments on stage were three guitars, one piano and the tool of her trade, her sublime voice. With just this in mind, tracks such as the opener City Girl, the sensational More Than One Kind of Love, the beating, pulsating, All the Way From America, In These Times, Down To Zero, The Weakness in Me, the eagerly awaited Love and Affection, Drop the Pilot and Willow were given the respect, the due deference, that songs that have withstood fashion and changing times, dictates.

For Joan Armatrading, the emotions of the night would have arguably caught up with her the moment she left the Philharmonic stage, they would have been understandable, for its not everywhere that gives a musician such a respectfully charged standing ovation when the night is over.

If this is goodbye for some fans who would not be able to make the evenings ahead then Joan Armatrading could not have asked for anymore from her audience on the night and they certainly could have asked no more of her.

A fantastic night filled with images of the past, music that lives in the ever constant present and all delivered by a woman for all seasons. This is not goodbye, not by a long chalk, it is more of celebration of what has been so far. Tremendous!

Additional Info

  • Author / Writer Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
  • Date Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Manchester Concert Review 2015

Joan Armatrading walks on to thunderous applause, a huge grin stretching right across her face. “I actually came out here to do something, but I’ve forgotten what it is,” she frets, gazing around the stage. “Somebody told me that’s what old people do.”

It’s the first of many jokes from a performer who, at 64 and with nothing left to prove, can enjoy a chuckle at her own expense. The Caribbean-born, Birmingham-raised singer-songwriter is on the 106th show of her “final major world tour”, and after three numbers claims that she is already so tired that “this is the last song”. The audience roars, because when she sings, her voice is ageless: she can still reach the high notes of her youth and is clearly bowing out of intensive touring with her famous powers undiminished.

Alone with a guitar and keyboard – with occasional pre-recorded enhancements - the well-chosen set list reflects a remarkable career. She flits from folk to rock to raw blues to even quasi-heavy metal, proud songs with themes of dignity, empathy and “a sense of self”. The protest song In These Times – accompanied by images of the Ku Klux Klan – is a particularly powerful moment.

The banter returns as she introduces old photographs of herself: getting her MBE, meeting Mandela and – not least – being immortalised in the Beano. Love and Affection receives a standing ovation, 1983 hit Drop the Pilot is slightly messy, but is soon forgotten as the audience form an impromptu choir for an ethereal, lovely Willow.

Armatrading eschews the encore ritual and instead remains on stage, savouring the moment as the crowd holler for more. Still, after 42 years and a magical 90 minutes, she’s more than earned it.

The Guardian Manchester

Cardiff St David's Hall Review

Yet again St David’s Hall is delivering to a packed auditorium the shows people want to see, the excitement and anticipation for Joan Armatrading tonight flowed up from the front to the top of the hall as people found their seats and made themselves comfortable as they knew they were going to be entertained.

Before Joan we were entertained by an Electro-acoustic guitar duo Rich Lown and Robin Hirschfeld, who were back supporting Joan Armatrading in Cardiff with a mix of electric taking the lead and acoustic guitars and self-penned numbers, this was an act that entertained warmed the acoustics in the hall ready for the main act. The audience was pleased with what they heard and they certainly musically entertained

There was an eager anticipation and the low rumble of chatter as everyone waited for the house lights at St David’s Hall to dim and Joan Armatrading step on the stage and entertain Cardiff once again the performance including elements of pre-recorded material which Joan had prepared in advance and according to the statement would add colour and shape to the performance. Tonight is part of Joan’s final world tour and the first as a solo act. The stage was set and Joan stepped onto the stage to tumultuous applause. It was a happy, chatty Joan who introduced herself, joked with the audience and raised the excitement even further before a first note was struck. She told us it would be good to do a track from every album, but not tonight with that she delivered a number from 1972 City Girl, with a video backdrop of city lights, this was going to be an evening of pure unadulterated joyous entertainment. The repartee between her and the audience continued as before the third song and she sat behind her piano said you have been the best audience, I am feeling tired so More Than One Kind Of Love, will be my final number, the confidence to play with the audience was as harmonious as the music being played. She used her voice as another instrument in perfect synchronization with the piano keys and then she soared above the piano notes like the pipes of an organ being opened up.

he next track we heard the melodious 12-string guitar that was full of glorious chords and augmented her contralto voice on All The Way From America; the audience were happy it felt as if an old friend had popped round for a chat and played some of your favourite tunes to you.

Every track she played worked in the solo format and the added backing really gave the performance texture, but the reality was all that really was required was Joan’s bubbly personality, perfect stage craft combined with strong vocals and her ever underrated guitar playing that mixes rock, blues and jazz using the tempo that suits the track being played. In the solo format these skills shine and Joan met the challenge and more and the interlude of backing photo’s as a scrap-book from her life as she picked out highlights provided an insight into this talented and popular entertainer.

s we paused she picked up the guitar and delivered an array of hits from 1972 to the present day with many albums being showcased as her dexterous fingers drove the guitar to bend the sound to her command as on Kissin’ and Huggin’ with some perfect jazz and then a contrasting bluesy number Empty Highway from her Grammy nominated album Into The blues with its mix of simplicity and deep and meaningful playing and the story unfolded in a perfect video backdrop.
All too soon the show had to end Joan stayed on stage to enjoy the spontaneous rousing standing ovation and then one of the highlights of the evening Willow with a meaningful solo interpretation of this classic number.

This is the third show since Joan had to take a short break in her final world tour and there was no doubt that she was on fine form; and let’s hope we have some more solo outings to enjoy despite this being a world tour.

Set List
City Girl (Album: Whatever’s for Us 1972)
Promise Land (Album: Hearts and Flowers 1990)
More Than one kind of love (Album: Hearts and Flowers 1990)
All the way from America (Album: Me myself and I 1980)
In these times (Album: Lovers Speak 2003)
Mama Mercy (Album: Show Some Emotion 1977)
My baby’s gone (Album: Into The Blues 2007)
Down to zero (Album: Joan Armatrading 1976)
Steppin’ out (Album: Steppin’ Out 1979)
Kissin’ and a huggin’ (Album: Show Some Emotion 1977)
The weakness in me (Album: Walk Under Ladders 1981)
Empty highway (Album Into The Blues 2007)
Woncha come on home (Album: Show Some Emotion 1977)
Love and affection (Album: Joan Armatrading 1976)
Rosie (Album: All the Way From America 2004)
Me myself and I (Album: Me myself and I 1980)
Drop the pilot (Album: The Key 1983)

Willow (Album: Show Some Emotion 1977)

Additional Info

  • Date Tuesday, 03 March 2015

Bristol Colston Hall Review

Joan Armatrading


PHOTO albums are special no matter who you are. They hold such precious memories, snapshots of loved ones and cherished places. But then there's another league of photo album and that's Joan Armatrading's incredible snapshots from across her lengthy career. With quiet pride she stood centre stage as huge images from her high flying photo album showed just quite what high regard she's held in. Dancing with Paul McCartney, singing alongside Elton John, sharing a joke with Nelson Mandela, as well as her delighted smile at accepting her MBE, her picture in the National Portrait Gallery and an iconic African-inspired snap taken by none other than Lord Snowdon were just some of the gems.

This is a woman whose extraordinary talent has taken her to some high-up places and who shows no sign of slowing down. She's adored by her fans who cheered her on stage, clapped loudly as she introduced songs before even singing a note and who gave her a standing ovation to leave the stage. The warmth of the crowd is mirrored by her own good natured lively, dry humour. Throwing jokes into the mix between songs she seemed almost ageless as she grabbed her guitars for frenzied riffs, followed by laments on her keyboard, wandering around the stage as easily as if it were her own living room, she was completely at ease.

She's recently been ill and had to reschedule some shows, her Bristol performance was her third gig back after recovering but other than a perhaps more throaty voice than usual, she seemed totally in her stride. A varied set list mixed up some of her earlier pieces from back in 1972, kicking off with City Girl for a relaxed comfortable beginning, showing off her unique, strong voice, rich in experience with a hint of gravel and at times with almost a gospel feel to it. She got toes tapping to All The Way From America and pulled at the heartstrings with a deeply powerful song in In These Times. Mamma Mercy offered an uptempo piece, performed with attack and peppered with higher pitch offerings of just what her varied vocal can do. There was a hint of rock to My Baby's Gone which was full of musical variety with twists and turns. She played Down To Zero, while Kissin' and a Huggin' had a jazz, rock and blues feel all thrown in. The Weakness In Me earned her enormous applause with a heartfelt song with a strong storytelling element and her much-loved favourite Love and Affection couldn't have been better received.

She's a gutsy performer with soul who exudes a down-to-earth charm that has endured across more than 40 years. Her fans adore her and with such a fantastic solo show, it's easy to see why she's still selling out venues after all this time.

Additional Info

  • Author / Writer By The Bristol Post
  • Date Sunday, 06 March 2016

Aukland Concert Review

The clue, really, was on the ticket — Joan Armatrading. Not Joan Armatrading and band; no, just Joan Armatrading. And so that was the show — 90 minutes of one woman, three guitars and an electric piano.

And it was a bloody good show. “What I thought I would do is play a song from every album,” Armatrading told a delighted full house at Auckland’s Town Hall. “Yeah, but that’s not going to happen.” Instead she played an 18-song set that spanned her 36-year career.

She opened with City Girl, from her 1972 debut album Whatever’s For Us, followed by Promised Land, from 1990’s Hearts And Flowers. She played alone, one woman with an electric guitar, on a stage with nothing but a projector screen displaying images to accompany the songs. That’s all she needed. On Promised Land her guitar chimed and her voice soared. On the outstanding Mercy Mama, she switched to a black Ovation 12-string acoustic which she thrashed soundly it might need armour-plating, playing it almost as much as a percussion as a stringed instrument, the power and the energy in her right hand quite remarkable.

The electric guitar returned for My Baby’s Gone, pleasingly dirty slide-guitar blues which served to remind that Armatrading, while usually pigeonholed in the largely-meaningless “singer-songwriter” category, is in fact a quite accomplished musician. She played, as has been noted, acoustic guitar with such raw fire and passion that a guitar tech appeared from the wings at the end of each song to disappear stage right with whichever instrument Armatrading had just played, presumably to re-tune it. But her playing had depth and detail as well as force; 1975’s Steppin’ Out featured both power and detail to remarkable effect. Kissin’ And A-Huggin, from the 1977 album Show Some Emotion, remained a jazzy number, but, shoehorned slightly into the middle was another exceptional bit of blues picking. It didn’t quite entirely fit into the context of the song, but it sounded good enough that, really, nobody cared.

Armatrading revisited her recent Into The Blues album for Empty Highway, a simple but highly effective blues wail. There was too much reverb on her electric guitar, and her voice could have stood to be higher in the mix, but it didn’t matter. On songs like this, everything came together — her rich, powerful voice, with a range and a depth that other singers would cheerfully kill for, cut through the guitar line and drove the song with clarity and richness, a thing of beauty.  There were moments, such as Woncha Come On Home, when Armatrading’s voice started to show — very slightly, now, but the signs were there — a little bit of weakness in some of the higher registers, but the delicate, beautiful electric-guitar fingerpicking that accompanied more than compensated.

The show was a solo performance, but we were told at the beginning that “elements of tonight’s concert have been pre-recorded by Joan especially for this evening to bring added colour and depth to the performance.” This translated to string accompaniments in All The Way From America, or electric piano on Mercy Mama, but for the most part, this was Joan Armatrading, solo, no backing, and it was good.

This show was billed as Joan Armatrading’s farewell tour, and a message projected on the screen behind the stage before the show told us that this would be her “last major world tour.” The slideshow she presented, then, half-way through the concert, could have been read as self-indulgent and pretentious, but Armatrading, a wonderfully charming stage presence with just a hint of shyness, managed to make it a quite delightful moment that told the story of her career in five minutes. Not that the audience particularly needed reminding of her career; most of the crowd, largely middle-aged, middle-class and white, clearly had the greatest affection for Armatrading, and Love And Affection, her first big hit from 1976, was met with huge cheers and some slightly embarrassing middle-aged white-man chair-dancing and air guitar, and a standing ovation at the end — the first time since Armatrading had walked onto the stage that the audience were on their feet.

The show ended with a brisk trot through Armatrading’s hits. Rosie, all chopped electric guitar and threatening-to-become-reggae joy, was followed by the big, crunching power chords of Drop The Pilot and dancing in the aisles. My Myself I featured a technically superb, but ultimately somewhat gratuitous and unnecessary, overdriven electric guitar break. And then, as the audience cheered, Armatrading announced the end of the show. “You’ve all been to concerts before,” she said, you know what’s coming. “But I’m just going to stand here and enjoy what I’d be listening to over there in the wings.” And she did just that, smiling as her audience — at this stage they were, quite unmistakably, hers — cheered and applauded. One last song for an encore, she sat at her keyboard for Willow, a crowd-pleaser since it first appeared on Show Some Emotion in 1977. She told the audience she’d be taking a break for the last couple of verses, and the thousand-strong crowd sang the song for her.

New Zealand will likely never see Joan Armatrading play live again. This was, after all, her Farewell Tour, and she’s 64 years old already. On the strength of tonight’s show, it’s definitely Auckland’s loss.


Additional Info

  • Author / Writer Steve McCabe
  • Date Wednesday, 17 December 2014
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