Date: 21 Feb 2011
Gilbert O'Sullivan announced to the room that this was his first visit to Worthing, having never been to the place in either his 'hey days or his aways days' but, on this evidence, he'd be welcomed back anytime. With a very impressive 11 piece band - complete with string quartet, excellent girl singers and a gritty, rootsy band - the ensemble reminded us of the (some would say forgotten) old fashioned virtues of great songs, well played with sincerity and commitment. O'Sullivan's credentials as a song writer are without question. His sense of melody is almost unparallelled and his ability to weld those with some truly beautiful harmonic progressions (piano players out there should try out the chords to 'Alone Again', as but one example) all points to his talent as being a case study for all aspiring tune smiths. Add to that the almost forgotten art of a killer middle eight and this quite exceptional stuff. Perhaps, in some quarters, a rather uncompromisingly jaunty piano style and some homespun lyrics have undermined O'Sullivan's credentials as one of the UK's great songwriters but a great songwriter he undoubtably is. 'Nothing Rhymed' is, surely, one of the greatest songs in the history of pop and other favourites like 'We Will', 'Claire' and 'Alone Again' are magnificently crafted songs, reminding of us of a time where style could me merged with substance to commercial effect. Worth ethic was hugely in evidence too, around 30 songs were performed in the 3 hour set. Songs performed from his new album 'Gilbertville', recorded in Nashville, also evidenced the fact that 'O'Sullivan' is still finding new envelopes to push. I, for one, was delighted to see such an outstanding, if not perhaps always entirely appreciated, figure in British pop still delivering in such a motivated and committed fashion.