Elkie Brooks, Birmingham Town Hall - review
The British Queen of Blues performed for fans in Birmingham last night - and, though she's nearing 72, she was sassy, sexy, sultry and spry.
Strolling out on to the Town Hall stage dressed in a sheer long black dress, her trademark dark curls framing her face, she looked closer to 50 than 70.
And the energy she expelled throughout the evening was superb - and electric - as she jumped and danced around the stage like an excitable youth. I only hope I can be half as active as she when I reach that age.
Her voice was tremendous too. After what I thought was a slightly shaky start, Elkie soon stunned with her dark, husky tones on numbers such as Do Right Woman, Do Right Man and Warm and Tender Love.
And she was backed by a superb band - with stand-out members being the guitarist and the saxophone player.
"Good evening everybody at the Town Hall," she bellowed, with her warm Lancashire tones.
"Thank you for coming here to hear me sing.
"I've had a smashing day - you've got some excellent restaurants and some wonderful shops."
Highlights from the show included a strong, sassy rendition of Fool If You Think It's Over and a gorgeous performance of Bob Dylan's Make You Feel My Love. Hits Pearl's A Singer and Lilac Wine also went down a treat, with the audience immediately applauding and whooping as soon as they recognised the opening lines.
She also did an array of superb covers, including a lovely rendition of The Moody Blues' Nights in White Satin and an absolutely thrilling version of Etta James' Baby What You Want Me To Do, which saw Elkie give a stellar, strong, passionate performance - finished off by her jumping up and down excitedly on stage.
Last - but most certainly not least - the down-to-earth Northerner belted out incredible renditions of The Carpenters' Song For You, Bob Seger's We've Got Tonight (which gave me goosebumps) and a tear-jerking, heart-wrenching cover of Prince's Purple Rain.
A gorgeous show, made all the more wonderful by Elkie's warm and down-to-earth persona.
At the age of 25, I entered the concert knowing just one of Elkie's songs.
And I left a fan - desperate to hear more of her dark, deep, gorgeous tones as soon as the show had ended.
A wonderful evening. We can only hope she returns again soon.
By Kirsten Rawlins