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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

We should all have heard of him


It's been six years since I last saw a proper pop "concert," (unless you count Bjorn Again and Jane McDonald), David Bowie at the Birmingham NEC in 2003. So it was with some excitement I set off to the slightly smaller venue of Swindon Arts Centre to see Colin Blunstone.

When I announced my intentions to see him, my colleagues and friends were baffled. "Who's he?" was the refrain. Well, Lucylastic and Mike, who came with me last night, weren't too sure either, but they really enjoyed it and a lot of the songs came back to them: "Wonderful," "She's not There," "I don't believe in miracles."

The tiny venue holds around 100 and it was full. We were, gasp, in the second row! The trouble with such a small venue is that a murmured aside becomes a magnified stage whisper. When the support act, a young boy in a scruffy suit and woolly hat with a selection of guitars, announced that his CDs were on sale for £4, somebody said "bless," and his head shot up. "Did someone say 'bless?'" he asked sternly.

Colin, who's in his 60s now but very trim and twinkly (although Lucy did question the provenance of his suit and doubted if it was a Paul Smith) came out without any fanfare and the venue rocked for the first couple of songs. All the old favourites were sung and some new material from his first album for 10 years. His band were very tight, I think they say, although the lead guitarist was extremely irritating. One of those dudes who models himself on Mick Ronson circa 1972, brandishing his guitar and performing showy solos.

Colin has the most sublime voice and it was at its best in the ballads. The breathy quality for which he was noted was obviously a studio gimmick because in real life his voice is very strong.

At the end a group of Colin's fans gathered round to wait for the great man in the foyer. Lucy and I did too as we had lots of questions: what happened to Caroline from the song, who was the girl in the Lamb's rum ad; why hasn't he had an album for 10 years, does he want me to write his biography, etc.

Unfortunately he didn't show up but the irritating guitarist did, so we made our excuses and left.

Lucy will be blogging about the gig too so check out her post --- URL is in my links section ("Thoughts and worries from the wrong side of the hill").

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