Marc Almond performing at The Royal Concert Hall Nottingham on Monday 6th May 2019

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

It is refreshing when an artist embarks upon a tour without the added pressure of having to promote their latest album, but Marc Almond did just that at the Royal Concert Hall last night.

Telling the audience that he was taking advantage before “his knees gave out”, he began his set with Charles Aznavour’s I Have Lived. And because he can indulge himself in his set list, he took the audience on an excursion through the music that made him and by those departed artists whose work he cherishes.

Dressed sombrely in black, he went straight into a Scott Walker tribute, The Big Hurt and later Big Louise. There were other tributes such as the powerful Billy Fury’s I’m Lost Without You, The Yardbirds’ Still I’m Sad and of course the fans absolutely loved his covers of David Bowie’s Starman and John, I’m Only Dancing.

With a voice that was never technically perfect, he has long since found a way of delivering his songs in his distinct animated manner. He was backed throughout by a very talented six piece band who allowed him to shine with a fantastic rendition of Charles Aznavour’s What Makes A Man A Man, which Almond delivered on a darkened stage beneath a smoky white spotlight backed by just a piano, acting out each line of the poignant piece, which was followed by Lou Reed’s Caroline Says which he performed with just a cello and violin.

Jacques Brel’s Amsterdam and Jacky were given the Almond treatment, whilst a rousing rendition of Mary Hopkin’s Those Were The Days had the appreciative audience clapping and singing along. But it was his own hits which were left until the end that saw Almond’s passion rise, which included a lovely slowed down Bedsitter, a great Days Of Pearly Spencer, a terrific A Lover Spurned before he closed with a delightful My Hand Over My Heart.

Not leaving the stage for an encore, he brought the whole audience to their feet with Tainted Love and Say Hello, Wave Goodbye which he dedicated to his Soft Cell band mate, Dave Bell who turned 60 this week.

Almond is consistently outstanding when it comes to performing live, and even after all of these years he still has the ability to deliver songs with such emotion and energy that at 61 he must be the envy of many an artist.