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Alban Arena 22/02/13

Former Mike and the Mechanics front man Paul Carrack took to the Alban Arena again on Friday night following his successful tour last year. Carrack's smooth voice is instantly familiar as he starts his concert with the soulful 'it ain't over'. The audience were very well behaved and so quiet they are almost reverential. But after a few numbers they began to relax and get into the music, singing along and foot tapping, by the end of the night some were even dancing!

'I don't wanna Hear Anymore' (which he wrote for the Eagles) perfectly displayed Paul's amazing way of conveying emotion through song. I sense Paul is more comfortable letting his songs speak for themselves as he gives little introduction between songs. He is more of a musical story teller, whose lyrics and music transgress the stage, transporting you into the world of the song.

Paul then gave us a taste of his forthcoming album (which hopefully will be released in the summer) with the west coast feel of 'long ago'. A wonderfully sentimental song which I'm sure will receive a great amount of air play.

Of course he also played popular favourites 'Eyes of blue', the Jackie De Shannon penned song 'Every time you walk in the room' and 'Tempted' which he originally wrote and sang with Squeeze.'

The Living Years' received rapturous applause on the opening bars. This song will hold a resonance with anyone who has lost someone and wished they could have told them they were loved. Carrack's tender performance was certainly deserving of the applause it received. Paul finished the concert with 'How Long', the first song he wrote and also his first hit from his time with Ace still sounded as fresh and vibrant as it did all 37 years ago.

Paul also requested the audience help with fund-raising for St Albans boy, Bailey Sarwa, who needs help with life saving cancer treatment. The audience responded by giving very generously which in these cash strapped times is good to see that people have not lost their kindness.

By the end of the night the audience had given Paul and his band a standing ovation and were not going to let him go without another number. They were delighted when he performed his most popular song 'over my shoulder' and finished the evening with 'what's going on?'

The great musicianship seen from Carrack and his band (featuring his son Jack on drums) along with his fantastic support act, Tinlin, was very refreshing is a era increasingly dominated by manufactured pop. It is a reminder that the Alban Arena is still a great venue to see great live music, and long may be be so.

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