She’s no stranger to Sage Gateshead and Beverley Knight was back at the Tyneside venue to help get its 10th birthday celebrations off to a triumphant start on Tuesday evening.
The platinum selling powerhouse is something of a dab hand at giving concerts at the Sage, having given one in hall two not long after the venue opened and then upgrading to the main hall for two visits in 2009 and 2011.
With plenty of albums under the belt and now two critically acclaimed appearances in West End smashes The Bodyguard and Memphis, the 41 year old had more than enough material to provide a whole night’s entertainment on her own, meaning that any of those expecting to meander in to the sounds of a support act missed out on a fine back to back opening of Made It Back and Greatest Day.
Beverley has shared a stage with many greats including Lionel Richie and a certain aforementioned man band but for her latest North East appearance she opted to get in tune with a hundred strong choir made up of youngsters from a number of local schools.
While their classmates were busy writing out their lists to Santa, these children were busy learning the lyrics to three tracks including the anthemic Keep This Fire Burning and the sublime Shoulda Woulda Coulda.
Their voices brought a different dynamic to the tracks that have become Beverley’s calling cards and they, their teachers and parents should be immensely proud.
The night’s star attraction could have easily left two of her biggest hits in the locker to provide her with her own ‘wow’ moments but she looked like she had no issue with sharing the limelight with her young backing choir.
And besides, this was a night which gave Beverley an abundance of stand out solo moments.
Gold could not have had more apt title for a song as Beverley’s performance was exactly that.
A collective shiver was sent around the room as she delivered ad-libs and riffs that some of her peers could only dream of matching.
And Black Butta, Rocksteady and Ain’t That A Lotta Love were a glittering masterclass in soul with a satisfying smattering of sass.
I’m not going to cause offence to anyone in their fourth decade by suggesting 41 is old but I will say Ms Knight has never looked better.
While others get nipped and tucked to an inch of their being Beverley is testament that soul, heart and pure talent are the best elixir for staying youthful.
Renditions of I'm Every Woman from The Bodyguard and Love Still Stands from Memphis gave her Gateshead audience a glimpse of why as well as being a MOBO award winning musician she’s now a headliner in theatre land.
A concert that went by in a flash ended with a funky rendition of Roachford’s Cuddly Toy and with that Beverley was on their way.
Some singers earn the diva tag for all the wrong reasons but make no mistake about it Beverley Knight has earned the tag for all the right ones.
She is an absolute force of nature as soon as she sets foot on stage and is in possession of a voice that really needs to be heard in the flesh to be appreciated.