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Lulu celebrates 60 years of an iconic career at The London Palladium

Champagne For Lulu live at The London Palladium 17th April 2024

On the 17th of April 1964, a 15-year-old, wee lass from Glasgow, blessed with a huge voice stormed the UK charts with a cover of the Isley Brothers song 'Shout'. From that day on Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie would be forever known as Lulu and would go on to have number-one singles, a Grammy nomination, collaborate with some of the biggest names in pop music and get shot by French and Saunders in a hilarious sketch of Pulp Fiction.

At 75, Lulu announced that this tour would be her last and to mark an extraordinary 60-year career, her final show wrapped up 60 years to the date when it all began. Introduced by Jennifer Saunders (the tour's name is taken from a line in Absolutely Fabulous - a show that Lulu frequently appeared in over the years too.)

In two memorable hours, Lulu took us on a whistle-stop tour of those last six decades. Along the way, we stopped off in 1967 when she had a hit with Neil Diamond's 'The Boat That I Row' and in 1969 for her Eurovision win with 'Boom Bang a Bang' and not forgetting 'The Man With The Golden Gun' - her Bond theme song. Her performance tonight is packed with her typical fireball energy and plenty of her usual charm. It's a delight and a privilege to see her on stage once more for a final time.

Lulu changed her style over the years to a rockier, more bluesier sound. She reminded us of a few highlights by singing virtual duets with David Bowie on 'The Man That Sold The World' and 'The Fourth of May' with Maurice Gibb. It was the first of many emotional moments as we looked back over those icons of entertainment that are no longer with us.

There's not much chit-chat between songs, but you get the impression when she talks about having Angels on her shoulders guiding her through her career, that she feels genuinely blessed for the experiences and opportunities she's had.

'Where The Poor Boys Dance' was a track co-written with her brother, Billy, and was a song about longing for the normality of home, something that she missed once her life had changed irrevocably all those years earlier. It's a wonderfully rueful track that received rapturous applause from the audience.

Lulu pays tribute to the late Sidney Poitier with whom she made the ground-breaking anti-racist film 'To Sir With Love'. She also had a US smash hit with the song. She sings with such heartfelt emotion that she receives a long-standing ovation. She pauses after the song ends, just taking in the wave of appreciation from the crowd. Lulu has often talked about the connection with her audiences, and this was one of those unforgettable moments between an artist and their fans. It was a very tender moment to round off act one.

Act two cranks up the energy with 'Independence' and her Grammy-nominated track 'Who's Fooling Who.' Another virtual duet, this time with the irreplaceable Tina Turner on the track 'I Don't Want To Fight', written by Lulu and her brother.

It's special guest time, and Lulu recalls how in Glasgow great singers are called 'chanters', and her special guest tonight is certainly a 'real chanter' Emilie Sande pops in to do a turn. Her musical director Rick Krive, duets with her on a sublime rendition of 'We've Got Tonight' - I don't think the song has ever been sung better.

90s kids probably remember Lulu best for Ab Fab or 'Relight My Fire' - the #1 hit she had with Take That. As she launches into the song with her inimitable energy, she's joined on stage by Emile Sande and Jennifer Saunders, along with her sister Edwina who is also her backing vocalist. By this time in the evening, the audience is on their feet witnessing history.

There's a real mix of age groups in the audience too, which proves the impact that Lulu's music has had on music lovers over the last 60 years. Lulu says we were all on this journey together, some joined later than others, but they have all shared in her illustrious career.

By the time we get to the end of the show and join in with 'Shout', it's an overwhelming and very emotional night for everyone, no matter where they joined the ride or her remarkable career.

Her touring days may be at an end, but she has no plans to give up singing which is indeed something to shout about. But for now, Lulu exits stage right to a thunderous applause that will be part of her enduring inspirational career and legacy as one of the greatest performers in music history.

Review Cathy Clark and Gerry Driver

Photos by Gerry Driver

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Apr 20
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

It was a great show fantastic atmosphere 🤩👏

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