Gladys Knight performing at The Symphony Hall Birmingham on Sunday 2nd July 2017.

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

Last night, the Symphony Hall at Birmingham played host to the Empress of Soul as she mesmerised her subjects straight from the off. The 73 year young Gladys Knight delivered a master class in just how to entertain as her rich velvety voice resounded around this lovely venue.

Dressed in shimmering grey, she looked a fraction of her age as she opened her 90 minute set with her 1977 hit, Baby Don’t Change Your Mind which started a stunning show. With her superb six piece band and three phenomenal backing singers, Knight was instantly charismatically compelling as this packed audience hung on her every note.

There was more Knight vocal magic with Make Yours A Happy Home and the lovely You’re The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me, whilst she transported us back to 1972 with a tender spine tingling version of Help Me Make It Through The Night.

And whilst she sang a wide variety of her hits, including I’ve Got To Use My Imagination and a thrilling Licence To Kill, she also delivered some stunning covers. A particular highlight was a duet with one of her male backing singers on Bruno Mars’ When I Was Your Man which seamlessly morphed into Knight’s sultry If I Were Your Woman.

It was impossible not to be emotionally moved by her glorious version of Bonnie Raitt’s I Can’t Make You Love Me but it was her extraordinary cover of the Barbara Streisand classic The Way We Were that earned her an emotional standing ovation.

There was a stunning rendition of Hello before her talented backing band treated the crowd to a beautiful medley of Prince hits which included When Doves Cry, Diamonds And Pearls and finally Purple Rain which was enhanced by Knights vocals.

An impassioned gospel section was followed by mass sing along to set closer Midnight Train To Georgia and this living legend who had given a powerhouse virtuoso performance had made it look so easy. She had entranced this crowd with her blend of music and memories with a display of old school stagecraft as she brought the audience close with anecdotes and absolutely adorable patter.

With her delightful warmth and humour Gladys Knight provided an evening packed to the brim with soul and sass and there can’t be many of her calibre still out there doing what she does; bringing old and new music to an audience who clearly love her.