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Warwick Arts Centre review: Beverley Knight

Beverley Knight, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, January 31.

Beverley Knight hit the ground running at Warwick Arts Centre and was on full throttle for two hours of turbo-charged R&B.

The Wolverhampton-born singer didn’t so much leave her fans dancing in the aisles - she started them off there.

From the opening note of her first song, the Butterworth Hall audience was on its collective feet and rarely sat down again.

Knight, celebrating 25 years in the music business, led the way, bouncing across the stage in tiger-striped shorts and top, a massive mane of hair bobbing along.

She not only showed she can move like Jagger, she nicked one of the Stones' best songs, delivering a blistering Satisfaction.

For me, the standout song of the night was another sixties’ classic, Piece of My Heart.

It’s tempting to pigeon-hole Knight in the Aretha-Whitney school of ‘soul’. And I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say she is in their league vocally. But there’s an irrepressible dash of hard rocking Tina Turner/ Joplin in the mix that makes Knight very special.

Anyone who doubts it should look at the BBC documentary which recreated the recording of The Beatles’ Please Please Me album using stand-in artists for the Fab Four.

Knight was given the last track -Twist and Shout - to sing and absolutely smashed it. Forget Lennon’s raw rasping delivery ( and the vitality of the Sky Blue Army’s version in the Arsenal bar at half time, for that matter) she was so good even the musicians applauded her.

But back to the concert...there were plenty of Knight’s old hits to please the fans. Shoulda Woulda Coulda, being particularly well received, along with Beverley’s first ever hit, Flavour of The Old School and tracks from her new album, BK25.

The audience did have a chance to take a breather while Knight performed two songs from her parallel career in musical theatre: the iconic Memory, from Cats, and a power ballad from The Bodyguard.

She hinted that musicals may be the path her career will develop.

For the time being though, she’s obviously got the power to electrify both stages.

  • Birmingham-based Black Voices, a five piece all-women harmony group opened the show with an eclectic range of songs in acapella. Their reception from an appreciative house bodes well for a return gig at Warwick Arts on March 7 when they’ll be paying tribute to Aretha Franklin, arguably the greatest soul star of them all, in a concert called Aretha, The Queen Next Door.

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