An Evening with Neil Sedaka at The Royal Concert Hall Nottingham on Tuesday 6th November 2014

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

Neil Sedaka, now 75 years of age, has never courted the spotlight like many of his contemporaries. He has never wowed Glastonbury like Neil Diamond, or had young trendies’ queuing up to work with him, but as the opening video montage showcased, the artists that have covered his songs during his illustrious career, read like The Hollywood Walk of Fame.

For over 60 years this Grammy Award winning composer has written, performed, produced and inspired countless songs, and his eager fans were fortunate to see and hear him perform a selection at The Royal Concert Hall tonight.

The dapper looking Sedaka, whose Hollywood smile seems to arrive on stage before he does, walked out to a standing ovation. With just his piano to keep him company, he announced “these are my songs” and explained that he will be performing them just how they were written; on a grand piano and “up personal and intimate”.

And for over two hours that is exactly what he delivered. His voice was in excellent form and whilst his trademark high tenor may have aged a little, it was still effortless and exactly on point. His audience eager to hear his greatest hits were delighted with Oh Carol; a terrific rendition of Solitaire and a great deal of audience participation during Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen and Calendar Girl.

But this concert was more than just a collection of his hits because he also treated us to some new ballads from his latest album, The Real Neil. It is amazing to think that he had clocked up the sale of over 25 million records before he was 23!

From a set list comprising 26 songs, highlights included The Hungry Years and Laughter In The Rain. There was more exquisite easy listening melancholy with Our Last Song Together, before Sedaka returned for one of three encores to deliver the novel, I Go Ape, the cheery (Is This The Way To) Amarillo and an untitled new number to boost his existing catalogue of over 800 songs, which is still flowing and growing after all these years.