Lulu Sage Gateshead 15th May 2015

Lulu Sage Gateshead 15th May 2015
lulutixIn 1963 a young 14 year old Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie saw Alex Harvey (before he was officially sensational) sing a storming version of the Isley Brothers “Shout” in a Glasgow ballroom. The experience clearly made a big impression; Marie McDonald soon became Lulu and recorded her own version of “Shout”, taking it into the UK top ten. An eminent rock journalist would later write: “It is still probably the best rock ‘n’ roll performance by a woman in the history of British pop.”
The ’60s was a magical time and Lulu was a big part of that magic. She was a major figure in British pop, recording a series of classic pop hit singles. In 1967 she featured in the film “To Sir With Love” singing the title song which reached No 1 in the USA (and is still one of my favourite all-time songs). In 1969 Lulu sang “Boom Bang-a-Bang”; the UK entry to the Eurovision Song Contest, and was the joint winner. Come the ’70s she was back in the charts with her version of David Bowie’s “The Man who Sold the World”.
Roll on 40 or so years and Lulu is touring again, singing a set of R&B classics and a selection of songs from throughout her career. I saw her concert at the Sage a couple of weeks ago. To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but was pleasantly surprised just how good she was. Lulu is still in great voice, looks stunning and has lots of stories to tell. luluprogShe has a new and well-received album, “Making Life Rhyme” for which she wrote most of the songs (along with her brother who she has worked without throughout her career). She kicked the concert off with a version of the Republica hit “Ready to Go”, followed by “Relight My Fire” which she recorded with Take That, and then “Faith In You”, the opening song from her new album. The highlight of the first set was, for me anyway, a perfect version (i.e. true to the ’70s original) of “The Man who Sold the World” which took me right back. Other highlights were “I Don’t Wanna Fight” which was written by Lulu and a hit for Tina Turner (something that I hadn’t been aware of), and an acoustic set of Bee Gees numbers including “To Love Somebody” and “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You”. Lulu explained how, married to Maurice at the time, she was present when the songs were written and recorded by the Gibb brothers. I’d read that she would sing a reggae version of “To Sir With Love” and was a little nervous that this wouldn’t seem right; but it actually worked well, and I enjoyed her new treatment of the song. The sad news of B B King’s passing had just broken, and Lulu sang an excellent soulful “The Thrill Is Gone” in tribute to the great man. I wondered if Lulu’s voice would still stretch to singing “Shout”, but stretch indeed it did (and more). She performed the song as if we were all back in the ’60s; and for a short period; we were. Lulu and her band closed with the Edwin Starr hit “25 Miles” and everyone was up on their feet, singing along. Good fun; and much much more enjoyable that I had imagined.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: