SUPERSTAR STILL SHOWING OTHERS HOW IT'S DONE
- 17 April 2002
O'Sullivan is a little bit like losing 20 quid.
O'SULLIVAN - CENTRAL HALL, GRIMSBY
rediscovered it after a while, it puts a smile back on your face.
the Jersey-based Irishman has been out of mainstream public consciousness
for a long time, there's no denying he's a fine tunesmith.
written some classic songs and is still knocking out some strong material.
stage show may lack a bit of panache, but he still looked good at 55,
dressed in black and blue livery, and had that lyric-laden, breathless,
nasal-voiced charm about him.
had two pianos at the front of the stage, one for his trademark choppy
style, the other for the echo-type effect numbers, and behind him was his
'orchestra'. That's Mick Parker, backstage right, with a keyboard from which
emanated everything from a brass section, guitar lead and flute solos to
mouth-organ breaks et al. And he had an accordion.
backing singers, whose hips must ache after non-stop swaying through two
halves and an encore, made up the troupe.
the star of the show had some good new ideas - his "Water Music" for voice and
'washboard' backing from the new album "Irlish" was received well - it was the
hits from his golden era in the early 70s which inevitably warmed up the
numbers in, he delivered "Nothing Rhymed", his breakthrough song, and followed
up with "No Matter How I Try" and "We Will". After
a few album tracks it was "Clair", his biggest British hit. Gilbert's
a bit of a contradiction - a 'shy' man who talks a lot, an 'English writer'
who uses Irish, African, Cajun and Latin styles, and, with "Alone Again
(Naturally)", can write affecting lyrics and add to them almost nursery
it works, and there's no denying he's dedicated to his art. If
he didn't keep banging on about ageism in music - mentioning Winifred Atwell
and forgetting he'd been to Grimsby before was a sign of age perhaps -
people might forget it's well over 20 years since his last big hit.
obviously rankled. A lyric on his new album, picked out for the big print
treatment, went: 'You can't make music at your age/unless of course it's
dung/well **** to those who take that view/especially if they're young'.
may have a point. We should have respect for a man who will go down as a
great singer-songwriter, but you can't beat the system, or the tide of
youth, or the music business.
went walkabout for "Who Was It?", a hit for Hurricane Smith, and kept it upbeat
to the end of the show.
was back for a burst of "Matrimony" and a double-length version of
with some of his fans up and grooving, and a standing ovation to follow, he
proved he had still got some dedicated fans after all these years.