Monday, 11 May 2009

Jane McDonald in Concert - The City Hall, Newcastle upon Tyne

Jane McDonald In Concert
Musical Direction/Arrangements by: Jarek Pyc
Reviewer: Ian Cain

After spending fifteen years singing on the stages of working men’s clubs in West Yorkshire, Jane McDonald graduated to entertaining passengers on board luxury cruise ships and was catapulted to stardom by a fly-on-the-wall documentary, ‘The Cruise.’

Since then, she has carved out a hugely successful career and has sold hundreds of thousands of albums, performed at many of the world’s most prestigious concert venues including The Royal Albert Hall and The London Palladium, sold-out the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas and earned a place in The Guinness Book of Records for being the first artist to top the album charts without a prior release.

Now in the middle of an extensive UK Tour, she took Newcastle upon Tyne by storm with a sensational concert at The City Hall.

To say that Jane has a loyal fan-base would be something of an understatement. She is absolutely adored by her followers and they weren’t afraid to let her know it as they called out ‘We love you, Jane.’

The concert was a mix of hits from her albums, her own compositions and a selection of some of the biggest and best-loved belters ever to have been recorded. Jane made each and every song entirely her own with a vocal prowess and versatility that was nothing short of phenomenal.

From the hits of Dusty Springfield to Duffy, Motown to musicals and Barry Manilow to Burt Bacharach, the mesmerising Miss McDonald wowed the crowd with a powerhouse performance that seemed almost effortless.

She looked as stunning as she sounded, dressed first in a pink gown that complimented her curvy figure, and later in a shimmering silver gown that sparkled almost as brightly as her personality.

Backed by three fabulous backing singers, Jo Boyne, Stephen Foster and Sue Ravey, and a fantastic live band, under the musical direction of Jarek Pyc, Jane took the audience on a journey through virtually every musical genre.

The power and clarity of her voice combined with a heartfelt deliverance made the ballads, including ‘You’re My World’ and ‘You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me’, all the more poignant. This was demonstrated to greatest effect in ‘Not A Day Goes By’, the song that Jane wrote in the wake of her grandmother’s death. The emotion that she injected into this tear-jerker was tangible throughout the auditorium.

Of course, always a performer to end on a high note, Jane rounded the evening off with ‘Disc Inferno’, ‘Voulez-vous’ and ‘Dance Yourself Dizzy.’

The thunderous applause and standing ovation seemed to genuinely take Miss McDonald by surprise, although it must surely have left her in no doubt that she’d be welcome back to Newcastle any time soon.

Photos by kind permission of Charles Bashworth
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