Wet Wet Wet, with special guest Markus Feehily, perform their Big Picture Tour at the Motorpoint Arena Nottingham on Sunday 28th February 2016

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

It may have been almost 30 years since Wet Wet Wet’s arrival on the music scene but from the moment they walked out onto the stage at The Motorpoint Arena, it was clear that time has done nothing to diminish the band’s appeal.

Supporting them on their Big Picture Tour of the UK was the very talented singer songwriter Ben McKelvey who set a high benchmark for the rest of the evening. Up next was former Westlife’s Markus Feehily, whose set included songs from his debut album Fire together with some Westlife hits. Accompanied by two backing singers, a musician and some backing tapes, Feehily began his set with Wash The Pain Away.

He gave us Love Is A Drug, his first ever solo single and Butterfly, his second single. Love Me Or Leave Me Alone and Sanctuary, also from the album showcased his stunning and heartfelt lyrics which are clearly deeply personal to him. He also gave an outing to Flying Without Wings and You Raise Me Up; both Westlife songs which whilst expected he would have been better leaving them well alone.

Whilst vocally Feehily is a little weak, and his banter with the crowd was non-existent, his confidence will surely grow as he continues to tour.

The lights soon dimmed and the screams became louder as Wet Wet Wet took to the stage. Opening with East Of The River from their debut album Popped In Souled Out released in 1987, Marti Pellow’s charisma just radiated from the stage.

With the band having split in 1999 and reforming in 2004, it was nice to see that they are still capable of having some fun. Pellow’s onstage banter with band members Graeme, Neil, Tommy, and sometime member Graham Duffin was as though they had never been apart.

This tour also coincided with the 20th anniversary of the release of their Picture This album so the set contained a fair number of songs from it including Julia Says, Somewhere Somehow and Morning, which all went down a treat.

Pellow was in dazzling form as he led the band through their back catalogue which included Wishing I Was Lucky, Sweet Surrender and Goodnight Girl, which had this mostly middle aged and enthusiastic audience singing every word. Gypsy Girl and Roll ‘Em Easy were given the acoustic treatment which showcased Pellow’s vocals, whilst new track Love Wars proved that Wet Wet Wet are still a force to be reckoned with.

The songs flowed as the audience were taken on a trip down memory lane. The only interruption was a rendition of Happy Birthday for Duffin before the main set was closed with I Can. From the opening strains of their record breaking chart topper Love Is All Around for the encore, the audience’s response was ecstatic.

Last night was an evening of fun and nostalgia, with Pellow’s infectious smile rubbing of on this audience, who clearly thought that the evening had come to an end too soon.