Jools Holland, Symphony Hall, Birmingham - review
Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra let the good times roll at Birmingham Symphony Hall joined by the legendary singer Jose Feliciano of Light My Fire fame.
It was a thoroughly good night of music and fun with the Puerto Rican singer adding an extra sparkle to the popular big band which is in the middle of a national tour.
Jose, looking a little frail but very much dressed like a star in black leather trousers, had no trouble rolling back the years singing the hits that people of a certain age will know.
Maestro Jools was his usual chatty self with vocalists Beth Rowley, Louise Marshall and the ever-popular Birmingham RnB queen Ruby Turner delivering a pretty special night of old favourites and new tunes.
Jose's duet with Louise Marshall As You See Me Now, the title song on Jools' and Jose's new collaborative album is a nice mellow ballad that Jose joked he hoped would be a million seller. He was full of praise for the band that kept a discreet distance as he took to the stage with his guitar and he explained: "I'm so glad that Jools and I are such good friends. We're better friends than Donald Trump and Theresa May, I tell ya."
Other songs included the Mamas and Papas' hit California Dreaming, the Jools-penned song Happy New Year and of course his festive hit Feliz Navidad.
There was plenty of boogie and the set made good use of video projection effects and footage, so the audience could sometimes see Jools’ fingers on the keys and the brass musicians - though at times it seemed to distract the audience when some of the individual band members were performing their solo sections.
It’s always great to see how the show builds up to a climax of boogie music with folks dancing along. And Ruby always manages to bring the house down with her huge voice that was definitely at its best last night with old school hits including Peace in the Valley.
It was a fabulous performance all round, despite a few teething issues with the quality of the mixing which I’m sure will be ironed out in time for the second show at the premiere concert hall tonight. Everyone definitely enjoyed themselves.