Chris Rea




live review


London Hammersmith Odeon

WHAT IS the attraction of Chris Rea – a fellow in his early 30s who glories in having the visual aplomb of a sack of potatoes.

I pondered this question sitting amid a crack squad of hard core Chris Rea fans who offered merely mild and polite applause during the sluggish first hour of the two hour show. Then they erupted into something close to Rea mania as the emotional tempo of the set raced to a blistering walking pace with 'Josephine' and 'Stainsby Girls'.

What I like about Chris Rea is his lack of pretension and, to a lesser extent, his pigtail. What isn't to my taste is the general trad rock trappings and ambience. Lots of dinky little solos and the ritual introducing of the band.

Conversely, one of things to reassure about Chris Rea is his stubborn refusal to move in any direction not of his own choosing. Either to be blatantly commercial (who'd ever have imagined that 'Stainsby Girls' had sufficient wrumph to be a hit?) or to dabble in any modish style.

Consequently his music is strangely earthy and non elitist. He communicates something to someone and this ability, I conclude, is the mysterious attraction.


mick sinclair

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