Beverley Knight, Royal Albert Hall, London
Lisa Markwell is the editor of The Independent on Sunday. She was previously executive editor of The Independent, i and The Independent on Sunday and has edited the features pages, and both the Saturday and Sunday supplements. She writes comment pieces for the papers and restaurant reviews for the New Review. Lisa has worked across a variety of newspapers and magazines and can now tick off every publication cycle from daily to quarterly. She is an enthusiastic foodie, mother of two teenagers and drives an electric car. She is writing a book about adoption.
Tuesday 22 November 2011
Music artists can be tweeted about, launch one CD and suffer a backlash in no time these days (see Lana Del Rey). Or they can take the route of Beverley Knight who, 17 years after she first appeared, is still going strong. Turns out there's a virtue in not being flavour of the month.
Touring to support her Soul UK album, Knight's one night in London, at the Albert Hall, was packed to the rafters with couples and gaggles of girls who knew every word of every song – hits like "Shoulda Woulda Coulda" and "Greatest Day" become singalongs with swaying arms from the front row to the gods. There's something rather endearing about it.
But Knight has an axe to grind, albeit in a hugely exuberant and lyrical way. British soul doesn't get anything like the recognition it deserves, she states (correctly); her new all-covers album goes some way to reacquainting us with such brilliant homegrown trailblazers as Soul II Soul's "Fairplay", and "Southern Freeez" by, er, Freeez. Tonight she bursts onto the stage, the very epitome of pocket dynamo, in black spandex trousers and stratospheric heels to belt out a combination of those cover versions and her own back catalogue.
It may be an odd comparison, but she reminds me of Prince as she shimmies – tiny and shiny – around the stage and turns tunes on a sixpence. He has that same razor-sharp connection with his band. This is at its zenith during an extended medley of hits from her seven ("eight if you include the Hits", she quips) albums. Knight shows the tenacity and talent that have earned her everything from Mobos to an MBE – "Shape of You" and "Soul Survivor" stand out.
Then it's back with another costume change – we've now had a clingy red dress, silver tunic and blue leather hotpants – and the up-tempo numbers that see dappled lighting flit over a pulsating crowd of dancing fans. But for this reviewer, her voice is never more lovely or powerful than on an encore cover version of George Michael's "One More Try".
X Factor curiosity Johnny Robinson is sitting in the stalls, perhaps hoping to get some pointers. If I was him, I'd have a long, hard think about a career in music. If Beverley Knight isn't a national treasure by now with her incredible voice, he hasn't got a hope in hell.
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 This is surely the best way to watch Jaws
- 2 Homeless man playing piano in Florida becomes instant online sensation with public performance
- 3 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 4 San Francisco TV news crew attacked by armed robbers during live broadcast
- 5 Greek debt crisis: The photograph that conveys the despair of Greece's elderly
Bad luck, One Direction: Paul McCartney doubts success of The Beatles will ever be matched again
This is surely the best way to watch Jaws
The Crystal Maze: Richard O’Brien confirmed to return as more details revealed about show's rebooted format
Guillaume Tell's gang-rape scene caused uproar at the Royal Opera House – but the portrayal of extreme sex and violence on stage is nothing new
What if Nicolas Cage played every character in Game of Thrones?
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture