GIG REVIEW: Sophie Ellis-Bextor at the Royal Festival Hall

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

WHERE?: Royal Festival Hall

WHEN?: 3/10, tour next year

SETLIST: Groovejet; Wild Forever; Catch You; Me & My Imagination; Youngblood; Love Is A Camera; Not Giving Up; The Sun’s On Us; Music Gets The Best Of Me; Bittersweet; Take Me Home; Young Hearts Run Free; Love Is You; Groovejet; Don’t Leave Me This Way; Heartbreak Make Me A Dancer; Murder On The Dancefloor; A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed

Perhaps it’s having a former Blue Peter presenter as a mother but Sophie Ellis-Bextor has always been refreshingly down-to-earth. So, when she describes tonight’s orchestral pop extravaganza as a ‘dream come true’, the qualification that: ‘All I had to do was pay for it’ comes as little surprise.

  • Read on for reasons including how you can see Sophie on this tour next summer

Tonight she is on stage with 36 musicians, including a full live orchestra for the 1st time, and, like a football match, this is very much a set of 2 halves.

In the 1st the audience is polite and respectful of the songs which we imagine will form the backbone of her new orchestral greatest hits The Song Diaries, now out in January, which has been produced by her recent collaborator Ed Harcourt who is here in the audience tonight.

This was 1 of those gigs where the audience seemed so respectful that we weren’t initially sure, despite some fine Ellis-Bextor coaxing, whether the crowd would mirror her into springing into life for a much more sprightly 2nd half in which she was joined on stage by her husband Richard Jones from band The Feeling.

But Cher’s cast-off Take Me Home got everyone to their feet and from there the 70s strings were irresistible not least on covers including Young Hearts, Run Free and Don’t Leave Me This Way.

New single Love Is You is a 70s cover that contains the original Groovejet sample, will feature on The Song Diaries and feels like the perfect example of what to expect there.

At just 80 minutes long this set feels like it finishes just as it is getting into its groove but the stripped-back acoustic version of (Sophie’s 1st band) theaudience’s A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed delivered up in the Gods of this iconic venue is a show stopping way to conclude.

Sophie’s just announced a UK-wide tour of this album for the summer and you wouldn’t want to miss out. It’s the most fun we’ve had on a Wednesday night in a long, long time.

  • Picture by monstagigz courtesy Sophie Ellis-Bextor. Tickets
  • Enjoyed this review? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham, email neildurham3@gmail.com and check us out on Instagram and Facebook

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