Gilbert O'Sullivan Proves He Will Never Be Alone: Naturally!

Gilbert O’Sullivan

Theatre Severn

29 April 2018

The one important factor that one picks up from watching a Gilbert O’Sullivan Show is how quickly you notice the relevance of the performance and how much it deserves to be sitting where it is, and that equates to the fifty years Gilbert has been writing, singing and recording  his songs to an ever so grateful public.

Some bands that are doing the rounds from certain eras,  for example the Sixties, Seventies and the Eighties, are happy to rest on their laurels and  reel off a string of anecdotes and famous names that they knew then; and everyone goes home feeling warm and nostalgic. Gilbert is cleverer than that and because of it his show finds the perfect balance between, this is what I was doing then to this is what I’m doing now.

 The difference being that to go home from a Gilbert gig one feels not just nostalgic and warm but inspired. Because to watch the man as he is now is evidence that he still wants to speak to us and he still wants to illuminate the things in life we might have or have not  noticed  maybe making a comment, giving us slant on how he feels about relationships or families or whatever. However the point being' Gilbert is doing now what he was doing then and has managed to make it just as fresh, neccasary and relevant as it ever has been.

But there is a natural feeling of happiness and fun from the stage. If you are not aware of how Gilbert concerts run, he has a full backing band with backing singers too. That came as a surprise as one was only aware of him being a solo artist. However this is not the case.

Surrounded like a golden kernel in a spectacular fruit Gilbert surrounds himself with fantastically talented singers and players.

Behind him there is Sax, Flute and Soprano Sax, and Drums, Percussion, Guitars, Lead, Bass and Acoustic, Keys/Synthesiser, Accordion and of course Gilbert’s own signature piano sound.

Now the picture in one’s own mind changes as one realises this is going to be a very full sound as this is actually a nine person show, each one beavering away to ensure the music that Gilbert’s songs leave the stage on is extremely adept and in fact rather good in its own right. Gilbert is surrounded with top talent.

So the music is fresh, a lot of people are drawn to Gilbert O’Sullivan because of his poetry. His lyrics are stunningly poetic and that always marked him out as an individual. This is the reason why he is still there and still speaking to us. His verse deals with fairly innocuous subjects but given the O’Sullivan spin. He is acutely observational in his comments and his songs, highlighting Britishness, family obligation and family love. He talks of emotions that we all share and he strikes each one, sometimes full force and sometimes with the discretion of a wren but his meaning is never lost and everybody seems to identify with what he has to say.

Gilbert is no Bob Dylan he hasn’t got an axe to grind and no protest to hit us over the head with. Consequently tonight in the theatre, whilst the world seems intent on ripping itself apart, Gilbert reminded us that it is the little issues like love, home and family that are actually so much more relevant to our state of well-being. So we happily all sat and listen to him singing about the little girl in his song, Clare or the angst of being left alone in the world for whatever reason. Like a true poet he was talking to us all as individuals and that is a great skill. His general air of being a nice fella is to us that don’t know him, fairly obvious too.

There is an Alan Bennet warmth in Gilbert’s songs, homely and comfortable. If we wanted to send a representative record to Mars for any alien that might have an Ipod, to indicate what life is like on Earth and If we wanted to show them what really makes us tick and how we all get on, on a more personal level; we could do no better than sending a sample of Gilbert’s songs and writings.  

Having taken it as read that Gilbert is surrounded by such powerful top class musicians, it is worth a line or two about his wonderful backing singers Niamh and Chantelle. They were brilliant, they colour in between the gaps and their beautifully luxuriously worked vocals added so much more value to the night and  one imagines they would probably add value to anything they turn their hand to. Gilbert showing the hallmark of a true and unselfish performer, used all his musicians and singers to their best abilities and let them all shine.

The show had a clear and tightly rehearsed order but there was room for little jokes and laughs with the audience. All of that gave the evening much more a feeling of being a happening and not just a show!

The show is called Gilbert O’Sullivan because that the name that attracts the crowds. However when one finds out that not only is one of the most enduring performers of British Pop music on stage but he is flanked by stunning talent one is doubly delighted and  will get everything  than one could ever have hoped for.

Gilbert O’Sullivan is a Musician, Lyricist and Poet how can any of those abilities ever become irrelevant? Never is the sterling answer you cry and as a reviewer I am delighted to agree. A truly great show!

This is A Four Star Review

Owen J.Lewis

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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