David Gest Is Not Dead But Alive With Soul Tour: A Tribute To David Gest And Billy Paul performed at The Albert Hall Nottingham on Wednesday 13th July 2016

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

In a year when we have lost a number of famous names, David Gest was probably the most flamboyant of them all.

And whilst the David Gest Is Not Dead But Alive With Soul Tour was put together before his untimely death in April, this audience at the early show at The Albert Hall Nottingham were grateful that they were not denied the opportunity to sing along with some of their legends from the 1970’s pop charts.

Stepping into Gest’s shoes as compere was Freda Payne who opened with her hit Band Of Gold, and had this audience immediately on their feet. Other acts followed with hit after hit. There was Melba Moore with This Is It, and relative youngster Junior Giscombe running around the auditorium with a very upbeat Mama Used To Say. The Tymes induced a mass sing along with Ms Grace as they followed the delicate Fern Kinney who treated us to her massive hit, Together We Are Beautiful.

Gwen Dickey of Rose Royce fame, now confined to a wheel chair, slowed things down with the beautiful Wishing On A Star before upping the tempo again with Car Wash.

Finishing the first set was Russell Thompkins Jnr who needed no introduction to an audience who were by now firmly on the road to nostalgia. The voice of The Stylistics was still there for all to hear as his distinctive falsetto drove home a medley of hits such as Rockin’ Roll Baby, You Make Me Feel Brand New and Stone In Love With You.

The second set saw Deniece Williams pay tribute to both David Gest and Billy Paul who passed away a few weeks after Gest, with a moving a capella verse from Prince’s Nothing Compares 2 U before the audience were up on their feet for Let’s Hear It For The Boy.

Next up was show stealer Dina Carroll who sang The Perfect Dream to a shocked male from the audience before Ain’t No Man finished her set which had showcased her still fabulous voice. Bringing the evening to a close was Peabo Bryson with an audience walk about during an epic and emotive rendition of the Leon Russell classic, A Song For You.

With a crowd outside waiting for the second performance, these artists were not to be hurried as they all came back on stage for a rousing Ain’t Nobody showing that soul is still alive in us all.