Sophie Ellis Bextor performing The Song Diaries Tour at The Royal Concert Hall Nottingham on Tuesday 4th June 2019

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

Sophie Ellis Bextor played Nottingham’s Splendour Festival last year and very nearly stole the show from headliner Paloma Faith, but last night at the Royal Concert Hall, this was no Splendour performance.

Touring in support of her latest ’orchestral greatest hits’ album, The Song Diaries, she took to the stage with her thirty piece orchestra, and opened with her big production number Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love).

Dressed in a flimsy green dress and a sequinned cape she explained that the concert would be like an “orchestral recital and Studio 54”, and that was the problem. Delivering a first half that consisted primarily of her biggest hits, reworked with orchestral arrangements, the songs were drowned out by violins, violas, cellos and sometimes brass so that in truth, one song sounded very much the same as another.

There was Young Blood, Not Giving Up On Love and Music Gets The Best Of Me which all served to showcase her excellent vocals, before she brought the orchestral part of her set to a close with the lovely Bittersweet.

For the Studio 54 part of the show her regular band, which includes husband and member of The Feeling, Richard Jones, joined her and the orchestra on stage.

And at last there was something to sing and dance about as Take Me Home brought this audience to their feet and with classic dance floor fillers such as Young Hearts Run Free and Don’t Leave Me This Way interspersed with her own hits Get Over You and the fans favourite Murder On The Dance Floor, the evening had been rescued.

At just 90 minutes long this set felt like it had finished just as it was getting into its groove, and as the end came with not another foot stomping number but a stripped back acoustic version of A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed, sung from the first tier balcony backed by two violinists, many fans were left wanting. Sorry Sophie, no Blue Peter badge on this occasion.