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Review: Lulu brings a whole lot of soul to the Sage Gateshead

The iconic sixties singer paid tribue to blues legend BB King during the concert which also included nods to Elvis and The Bee Gees

Lulu
****
PJFimages Lulu live on stage
Lulu live on stage

At 16 they said Lulu’s voice would never last, singing like that. It’s safe to say whoever ‘they’ were, she’s proved them wrong.

The super pint sized singer defied her 66 years to produce an impressive performance in Sage Gateshead’s Hall One on Friday night.

Backed by a youthful band, Lulu’s soulful voice is still impressive as ever with its signature rasp and grit.

She spoke of how great that she is still here despite being round the block. But “Yes!” she’s still doing it and proud of the reviews of her latest album Making Life Rhyme.

PJFimages Lulu live on stage
Lulu live on stage

Both halves offered an interesting mix of songs spanning Lulu’s 50-year career in music. Forever bubbly, even a trouser zip malfunction had her laughing.

I Don’t Wanna Fight, a song wrote during her divorce from Maurice Gibb and a struggle to get back in the business, gave Tina Turner a global smash. On Friday it was reworked brilliantly.

PJFimages Lulu live at Sage Gateshead
Lulu live at Sage Gateshead

Prior to a Bee Gees Melody, Lulu described how she got to see first-hand the Gibb brothers creating their classics. The biggest cheer was from a wonderful version of To Love Somebody.

There was a clever version of Hound Dog which was sung as a duet. The self-penned Cry was full of emotion, her voice bending the notes with a great slide guitar solo. To Sir With Love, was given a Reggae vibe, some asked staff if they could dance in the aisles, of which Lulu was ecstatic to see.

The last of the second set was saved for... yes you guessed it. “It’s that time of night, you make me feel so good,” she said before launching into a tremendous intro to Shout, which was given a whole new lease of life.

PJFimages Lulu live on stage
Lulu live on stage

During the encore Lulu gave special mention to the passing of BB King and sang The Thrill Has Gone wonderfully, both guitarists did the great man justice with sublime solo efforts. It was a fine tribute well suited to ‘sister Lulu’ who had sold out the BB King Blues Club in New York.

Lastly, for Can’t Turn You Loose and 25 Miles, the whole audience were on their feet in admiration.

The was no doubt of Tyneside’s affection for Lulu as confirmed by the buzzing couple behind me, Tracey Calder and her mum Gerry Trainor could not stop raving about that voice while grabbing a quick selfie with the Lulu endorsed drum kit behind them.

Peter Fannen

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