Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, Symphony Hall, Birmingham - review

Now in the tours 21st year, Jools Holland bought his much loved Rhythm & Blues Orchestra to a packed Symphony Hall last night.

Jools Holland
Jools Holland

The whole venue dancing along to the greatest boogie-woogie party in town.

Opening the show last night was the orchestra’s long serving guitarist Mark Flanagan who treated the crowd to his take on Americana, whilst providing the audience with romanticised and interesting anecdotes including a tribute to the late ska and reggae trombonist Rico Rodriguez.

Currently touring in support of his latest studio album ‘Piano’, the Symphony Hall was packed to the rafters both on and off the stage with a 20 piece band accompanying the magnificent piano virtuoso Jools Holland.

After apologising for both himself and his brother, keyboardist Christopher Holland, forgetting their trousers for the evening and performing in jeans, the band take the audience on a two hour show covering a variety of decades.

Taking the time to give each member their moment in the spotlight, including Wolverhampton’s very own Dave Swift on bass, Jools acted as the ringmaster to the musical travelling show.

After providing vocals himself during the first hour of the show, it’s then time for a plethora of special guests including singer-songwriter Beth Rowley and Fairground Attraction’s Eddi Reader who treated the audience to the BRIT Award winning ‘Perfect’.

Veteran Coventry ska band The Selecter ran onto the stage in a flurry of energy that also saw the previously stationary audience leap into the aisles to dance along to tracks such as ‘Too Much Pressure’ and ‘On My Radio’ accompanied by two tone style visuals.

It was then time for a homecoming appearance from Ruby Turner, a vocalist of the highest standard that bought the Symphony Hall to a standing ovation before ‘Enjoy Yourself’ bought the evening to a warming finale.

By Dan Earl

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