Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra with special guests Marc Almond and Ruby Turner performing at The Royal Concert Hall Nottingham on Thursday 15th November 2018.

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

It’s a sign that Christmas is nearly upon us when Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra invited a packed Royal Concert Hall to start their celebrations early as he unwrapped a jamboree bag of a gig that had a little of something for everyone.

Starting promptly despite some of his band being delayed on the motorway, there was no doubting that this boogie woogie supremo can tickle the ivories as he launched into a couple of numbers that served as a fairly rigorous warm up for his eventual eighteen piece band who exuded talent from their every pore.

The format for the evening was thumping big band tunes with almost everyone getting a chance to take a solo that saw Holland beaming like a proud father. His brother Christopher dueted with him on the piano whilst life time friend and fellow Squeeze veteran Gilson Lavis’ drum solo on Dorothy quite rightly attracted thunderous applause.

On this tour his special guest is Marc Almond and cutting a diminutive but energetic figure, he launched into Say Hello, Wave Goodbye which saw the crowd singing along, waving their arms in the air.

He and Holland performed a couple of songs from their forthcoming album, It’s A Lovely Life To Live, showcasing the honky tonk feel of London You Were My Lover and the big swing sound of the title track, before Almond finished with a huge version of Tainted Love which had the crowd on their feet.

Holland is undoubtedly a great raconteur, telling stories that make you feel as though you’ve been mates with him for years. And with a giant screen allowing the audience to see his intricate keyboard skills he showed that he is a true entertainer.

When his long time friend, Ruby Turner stepped onto the stage, the crowd knew that they were in for a fabulous climax as she once again brought the house down with her huge voice on Peace In The Valley showing that this was certainly a foot stompin’ way to start the festive season.