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Review: Belinda Carlisle at Mill Volvo Tyne Theatre, Newcastle

There was no need for the popular singer to feel nervous with a fantastic back catalogue. Simon Rushworth reports

Belinda Carlisle live in concert
Belinda Carlisle live in concert

With more than seven million albums sold worldwide, a New York Times Best Seller in the shape of 2010 autobiography Lips Unsealed and a voice to die for Belinda Carlisle shouldn’t lack confidence.

However, the 55-year-old, having recently emerged from a 30-year addiction to drugs and facing inevitable scrutiny surrounding her youthful good looks (and those prominent cheekbones still dazzle), never looked entirely comfortable during this hit-laden set.

Ultimately that endearing vulnerability - the former Go-Go’s singer appeared particularly ill at ease in between songs - worked in her favour. Rooting for the underdog, the Newcastle crowd took Carlisle to their hearts and for all the awkward silences and questionable dance moves, the music made for a glorious blast from the Hollywood-born star’s glittering past.


That gravel-toned pop rock voice and wonderful winning smile still make for a heady combination. Lost in her songs, Carlisle was at her most relaxed and midway through an emotive version of Circle In The Sand there was a palpable sense of self-belief. Big Scary Animal proved the unlikely show-stopper on a night when self-reflection was writ large over one of the most perfect faces in pop.

If euphoric anthems Heaven Is A Place On Earth, (We Want) The Same Thing and La Luna harked back to a time of carefree 80s excess it was new tune Goodbye Just Go, with its darker, almost bitter refrain, that proved a more focused and battle-weary Carlisle has a future in her fourth decade as a recording artist.

That confidence will return given the unwavering support of fans who propelled this year’s Greatest Hits collection into the top 25 of the UK album charts and loved every minute of a rare Newcastle visit. Until it does Carlisle can fall back on a flawless back catalogue that deserves critical reappraisal.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
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Stuart Rayner
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