Wednesday, 20 June 2012

LINK: Chris Thompson review
Berlin Live
Gonzo 2012

Publish PostBlinding and spiritual, one of the best British singers finally delivers a full-blooded, heavy-on-the-hits concert album.

You can't go wrong with Chris Thompson: the likes of QUEEN know it too well when inviting the man to back them, and duetting with Sarah Brightman was no mean feat either. Quite simply, the man has The Voice, and that's the title of a song he co-wrote for John Farnham and gloriously reclaims here, on German radio concert which is spread over two discs and has a DVD companion. And it's only one of surprises strewn across the set showcasing many of Thompson's successes yet relying reasonably on the hits Chris notched in the company of Manfred Mann.

They're all there, from "Father Of Day, Father Of Night" to "Questions", through "Blinded By The Light" and "Spirits In The Night" and even the brilliant "Don't Kill It Carol" which the veteran didn't sing a lead on originally - all done with Thompson's charm and looseness that was sometimes missing from his old band's performances. With Norwegian players behind him now to unleash many a pleasant passage, like in "Runner", it's all about the song, not arrangement, and Chris takes off harking back to his New Zealand roots in the tribal groove of "Land Of The Long White Cloud" and gets on the edge in the funky "Wasting Time" from his latest studio work - laid down a decade before this 2011 recording. The most welcome inclusions, though, are the swaying, harmonica-oiled blues "Whole Lot To Give" from his collaboration with Mads Eriksen who has a solo spot here, and a graceful, breezy version of "Hot Summer Night" from the singer's underrated late '70s project NIGHT. Still, the emotional zenith comes down not with "If You Remember Me", a bit too saccharine ballad, but with the bare-bones "For You", a measure of the artist's dedication to his audience who's thanked, each one by name, in the booklet.

One fantastic concert - long overdue and all the better for it.


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