Friday, November 26, 2010

On Monday the cold weather was swept aside for a few hours by immersing in the sunny warmth of David McAlmont's voice at a special gig at the Leicester Square Theatre being filmed and recorded for future release on dvd/cd.
I have been a fan of David's for a while now having seen him twice before as McAlmont and Butler when he and Bernard were touring their great BRING IT BACK album and I was lucky to see him two years ago doing a short set of Harold Arlen songs at the Festival Hall. However recently I have become more involved in his music since becoming part of his Facebook army of fans.

Realizing that the music business has changed beyond what artists have been accustomed to, David is seeking new ways of connecting with his audience and certainly has taken to the immediacy that Facebook offers - it is genuinely thrilling to connect with him personally as opposed to a page which is managed by PR companies.
David certainly made a jaw-dropping entrance on stage, appearing like a male Grace Jones in huge feather boa, dark silk suit, a black lace domino mask with vertical feather detailing and a headdress of gold autumnal leaves - oh and more flashing, glittery jewels than you could shake a stick at! When you are in the front row that's a lot to take in.

You gotta have something to bring to the table to make this outfit seem natural and McAlmont certainly has that. Drawing on all areas of his 18 year career, he gave us a memorable show with a marvellously thought-out setlist with some telling covers sprinkled throughout.As I said before David is seeking new ways of connecting with his audience - he said he had always hated the natural divide that being on stage brings - so he came up with the idea of everyone getting a number which corresponded to a question eg. Who? What? Why? Where? etc. and occasionally at the roll of a dice these questions could be asked as to the next song. It was certainly an interesting experiment in hearing his thoughts on certain songs and as to why they had been included. There were occasional longueurs but these can be forgiven when what is being attempted is so new.

He was complemented wonderfully by Guy Davies on piano, John Miller on drums and Neville Malcolm on bass with several appearances by surprise guest Bernard Butler - it was a particular joy to see them on stage together again. When they careened into their classic YES I was blinking back some very happy tears. It was great also to see them laughing and joking when David kept going off-piste during FALLING.The whole show was a highlight but among the songs that made me glad it was being recorded were SNOW, LOSE MY FAITH, WHO LOVES YOU. I'M A BETTER MAN, PLACED ASIDE and DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER.

Shirl was also returned to when he performed AS GOD IS MY WITNESS which he co-wrote for Bassey's THE PERFORMANCE album as well as a heartfelt version of NEVER, NEVER, NEVER which had him climbing off the stage and singing to the mother of a friend in the third row!

After leaving the stage to a standing ovation he returned to give us a final cover, a lovely version of Tom Waits' GRAPEFRUIT MOON which he sang as he slowly dressed to leave us with a scarf, overcoat, hat and gloves. The song ended with him slowly opening an umbrella and sauntering offstage - who says a gig can't be theatre too? Like Owen I was just a little disappointed that the opened umbrella didn't rain down glitter!

We are seeing him again in a few weeks time for a seasonal evening in a space that seats only 80 so I cannot wait to see him in an even more intimate space. Oh and the cherry on the evening's cake? Having my picture taken with David in the foyer before the show when he had his friend William Willcox ready with a camera to photograph him with his 'peops'.

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