Express & Star

Barbara wowing the crowds for one final time on farewell tour

Barbara Dickson - Town Hall, Birmingham – The Farewell Band Tour

Barbara Dickson

This might be the last time Barbara Dickson appears in Birmingham, at least with a band if the title of the tour is anything to go by.

The 76-year-old Dunfermline native referenced playing the same venue in the 1970s before it had been refurbished and was all standing – indeed the whole evening provided plenty of reminiscing musically from her career which started in terms of singles in 1974, though she had already released four albums.

That first single was a double A side of Here Comes the Sun and The Long and Winding Road from the Willy Russell musical John, Paul, George Ringo...& Bert in which she played a singer and pianist, both of which she still does beautifully.

The Russell influence – she also appeared in Blood Brothers – was name checked, as was that of Gerry Rafferty who she performed with in Scottish folk clubs early in her career, and she played a cover of Moonlight and Gold to start the evening off.

But the love of the Beatles was also clear with three covers of their songs, including in the second half of the concert, Across the Universe from the Let it Be album.

One particular highlight of the covers was a rousing and beautiful version of The Times They Are A-Changin by Bob Dillon, who she described as 'The greatest living American.'

As well as the music there were of course stories from her near 55 year career including one of appearing on Top of The Pops for her first hit in 1976 - Answer Me - where she said she was whisked to the television studio in a limousine which she later found she would have to pay for.

There were plenty of traditional folk songs and appropriately January, February, her second biggest charting hit in her own right. She is also known of course for Another Suitcase in Another Hall from Evita which was played, and the number one with Elaine Page, I know Him so Well, which wasn't but strangely made it to the merchandise stand as a pun on a dishcloth.

It was clear that even in the second half of her 70s, her voice was still at a peak level, as was the chemistry with the top class band, members of which she has played with for years. But, it would seem, never live again and on this performance, that would be a shame.

Paul Jenkins

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