Philharmonic Liverpool

  • Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
  • Tuesday, 24 March 2015
  • Joan Armatrading at the Liverpool Philharmonic Joan Armatrading at the Liverpool Philharmonic Credit: Ian D. Hal

    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!