Star rating: ★★★★★
The Mill Arts Centre, Banbury – until 10 February 2017
I am not a fan of ballad singers as a rule, I certainly wasn’t interested in a slow and emotional number when I was in my pre-teens/teens, however there was one singer who crossed that boundary and has remained a firm favourite of mine. It is amazing to have had the opportunity to have seen Beverley Craven on tour and even better that she is firmly rooted back on the music scene, where she belongs.
With her ever-present keys for company and a saxophonist, Frank Mead as her accompanist, it was a stripped back and laid back evening which brought joy and evoked a myriad of emotions. ‘Promise Me’ is the hit that the majority of people recall upon mentioning Craven’s name, it had to be in the set, of course and it demonstrated how incredible her vocal ability remains. The performance took me right back to 1991, and as with every song that she treated us to, the over-riding feeling was that I cold have been listening to a CD, Spotify, your ipod…
As would be anticipated, Woman To Woman, Memories and Holding On were in the mix and all extremely well received. Love Scenes is one of my all-time favourite songs because it reminds me of a lad at school who I had the hots for and who was an amateur dramatics actor with a girlfriend from the same am dram society. I remember those lyrics word for word to this day, but hearing one of my best-loved singers and indeed the writer of the song, sing it live? That has toe one of my highlights since starting this blog. I also enjoyed Tick Tock and Joey in particular, however it truly was one of those occasions where every number was so amazing that there was no choice in the set that disappointed. An exceptional back-catalogue was always going to make for an unforgettable evening, yet there was so much more to it.
What was refreshing and moved the show along well was Craven’s sense of humour, dry and her timing made her quite the comedienne. I also found the story behind each song to be a fascinating addition which added extra ambience to each track. As a singer, she has a distinctive and stunning voice, as a writer she is insightful and not rivalled by many (in my humble opinion) and as a woman, there is an assurance and strength that shines through. Beg, steal or borrow a ticket, I highly doubt you’ll regret spending an evening in the company of Beverley Craven.