Gilbert O'Sullivan, Birmingham Town Hall - review

He’s marking 50 years in the industry with a tour across the UK - and, despite being 70, Gilbert’s as lively and charming as ever.

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Gilbert O'Sullivan. All pictures by: Kirsten Rawlins

Singing centre-stage dressed all in black, Gilbert jumped and danced as he performed - even standing on his keyboard at one stage, while treating the sold-out show to an array of beautiful songs.

Kicking off the Birmingham Town Hall show with 1971 number Thunder and Lightning, Gilbert set the tone for the evening with an impassioned performance, joined by a stellar band and two female backing singers, whose strength and range was stunning.

“It’s good to be back,” beamed Gilbert.

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Gilbert O'Sullivan

“Last time I was here I was marking 49 years - and now I’m celebrating 50 years in the business. I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved, but it’s important to concentrate on tomorrow and look ahead to what I want to do next.”

Despite this remark - and much to the fans’ delight - hits followed thick and fast: including a gorgeous rendition of Nothing Rhymed, a beautiful, pitch perfect performance of We Will and a lively version of 1972 hit Ooh Wakka Doo Wakka Day.

He also sang a lovely rendition of Where Would We Be (Without Tea) - adding that in Japan, he changes the words to ‘green tea’, and in Holland, he changes them to ‘weed’.

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Gilbert O'Sullivan

Gilbert later told fans of his adoration for Peggy Lee - and how he recorded a duet with the late jazz icon on Can’t Think Straight, despite her weakness and fragility when it was carried out in 1991. The audience was then treated to a live rendition of the song by Gilbert, joined by the recorded vocals of Peggy, as the music video played on a screen above the stage.

Oh Why Oh Why Oh Why - from back in 1973 - was granted a new lease of life too, performed to a reggae beat, as green, yellow and red lights lit up the room.

A stripped-back, beautiful, mesmerising rendition of Happiness Is Me And You came next, with Gilbert displaying wonderful strength and a rich tone.

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Gilbert O'Sullivan

What’s In A Kiss and Alone Again (Naturally) followed, before Gilbert got the crowd to their feet to sing and dance along to Matrimony and Get Down.

Once the show had finished, Gilbert nodded to the crowd, grinning bashfully from cheek to cheek.

Even after 50 years, he still remains one of the most down-to-earth, humble men in music.

His next Midland gig will be at The Prince of Wales theatre in Cannock on March 14.

By Kirsten Rawlins

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