Hailing from Wolverhampton, Beverley Knight MBE has long been hailed for her majestic performances and ridiculously good vocals; awarded the MBE for her contributions to British music and recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Urban Music Awards in 2004 Knight has had a huge influence on young ambitious artists in the field of soul and R&B music.
Tonight she brought her current tour – The 50 Tour – to Glasgow and the first impression of the stage set up suggested it was a big production and SCOTTISH MUSIC NETWORK was there to witness her latest incarnation.
The Armadillo is an impressive structure from the outside and entry into the venue was quick and painless as the well oiled security staff shepherded the mainly 50 something’s into the venue.
Equally impressive on the inside, the all seated arena is tailor-made for nights like tonight.
The entertainment started at 7:30pm as CASEY McQUILLEN strutted on stage.
The solo artist from the USA looked like a million dollars in her bright red dress and glittery boots and had a personality to match the outfit.
Casey had an infectious personality that had the crowd onside from the very first time she spoke; self effacing and candid with a huge talent she was impressive… very impressive!
Her songs were taken from her personal story book and laid her bare to those lucky enough to be in the arena early; her story telling in between songs was equally as impressive…
Casey McQuillen is coming back to the UK for her own headlining tour in the Spring of 2024 and you should definitely make the effort to go and see her.
The interval arrived sooner than she deserved as Casey now had the crowd in the palm of her talented hands and her stage space was cleared and a new resident took her place in the form of a DJ.
Many around the venue seemed to have reservations about a DJ coming on stage but the reservations were soon banished as the knob twiddling and scratching DJ MUNRO blasted out some well known choons and engaged the audience in some community singing.
Between Casey and DJ Munro the crowd was heated into rediness for the main act.
Under the muted blue stage lighting Beverley Knight’s band took to the stage and built up the drama for Beverley to take her place… A blast of music and a flash of blinding light heralded Beverley on stage accompanied by a huge Glasgow roar.
The diminutive figure of Miss Knight was clad in a psychedelic patterned PVC catsuit and, despite her small frame, commanded the stage from the off.
Barely stopping to take a breath Beverley Knight smashed her way through her set with each song better than the one before; the arrangements were perfectly crafted and performed by all on stage. The all seated arena quickly became an (almost) all standing and dancing arena as the soul and R&B goddess strutted, danced and smashed her way towards a well earned stripped down mini set.
The stripped down session was a very emotional time for Miss Knight as it included songs in memory of her former musical director – Reidy – and an ode to Stephen Lawrence. This part of the show allowed Beverley to really showcase her incredible vocals… she really does have the most amazing voice which also took us through a short Gospelesque performance with her three backing singers – it was hair raisingly good.
Thankfully the break before the encore was short and the cover Chaka Khan’s ‘I’m Every Woman’ took the crowd to a new high… well, who doesn’t love a bit of that particular anthem?
Before we knew it a cover of a Prince song as the penultimate tune and the adoring crowd was longingly taking in the final chapter of the Beverley Knight songbook and she fittingly told us that ‘Everything’s Gonna be Alright’ as the fans showed their appreciation for what was an incredible show… Glasgow showed it’s appreciation on the time honoured way with a huge ovation.
Review and Photographs by John Brown