Kiki Dee with Carmelo Luggeri, performing their A Place Where I Can Go Tour at St Mary’s Church Lowdham on Friday 7th November 2014
Images and Review by Kevin Cooper
Given that Kiki Dee and Carmelo Luggeri’s songs often have a spiritual focus, it was apt that their Lowdham return was at the resplendent St Mary’s Church.
Whilst she may never escape the legacy of her 1976 chart topping duet with Elton John, Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, Kiki Dee is a singer songwriter whose contribution to music cannot be under estimated. This latest acoustic concert demonstrated the versatility and integrity of an artist who, despite the fact that she no longer sells out vast arenas, still has much to offer an industry that is becoming ever more formulaic and increasingly driven by commercial success rather than creativity and talent.
Having been a former backing singer with Dusty Springfield, the first European artist to sign for Tamla Motown, having had numerous hits in the 70’s; Kiki Dee has been one of the truly great British singers. After having fulfilled an admirable fifty year stint in the music business, she still managed to take to the stage as if she were 19 again. Accompanied by her long time collaborator, musical partner, and virtuoso guitarist Carmelo Luggeri, she was as brash as ever with that iconic red bob.
The first half of the show was very fluid, with the pair changing between different styles and eras. This concert combined a mixture of Dee’s own material, hits from her back catalogue and collaborations with Luggeri from their most recent albums. Salty Water and Amen And Goodbye were from the east meets west themed album, Where Rivers Meet, and there were also tracks from the couple’s Walk Of Faith album; Everybody Falls (Habit Of A Lifetime) and Like Nobody’s Child.
Of course, many in the audience secretly yearned for Dee to perform the classics that have cemented her status as a star performer, such as the sensuously beautiful Amoureuse, and I’ve Got The Music In Me. And when she did they were rapturously received. A particular audience favourite was the stripped back, raw and honest version of Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, which was absolutely sublime.
In amongst Dee’s and Luggeri’s songs was an array of covers ranging from Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus, through to Sinatra’s It Was A Very Good Year, to Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill, with fine versions of Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me To The End Of Love and Janis Ian’s At Seventeen thrown in for good measure.
Ending the night with a very gentle version of Buddy Holly’s True Love Ways, hastily followed by a truly sublime take on the Motown classic, How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) which justifiably earned the duo a standing ovation.
This acoustic experience was one that for all of the right reasons, will remain in my memory. What with the awesome setting of the old church, Dee and Luggeri effortlessly blended their soul, pop and rock roots into heartfelt, emotionally thrilling music. What a terrific evening!