Gig Review: Belinda Carlisle (Indig02, London, May 17, 2014)

Belinda Carlisle is back in the spotlight this year with her new Anthology box set being just released. A great collection of all her best work with two new songs, her latest six date UK tour is almost a sell out due to advance promotion. Although she has continued to tour since her late 80s/early 90s heyday, it has been mainly on Eighties Revival package tours, low key club tours or one off shows. This tour sees her returning as a headlining act for the first time in quite a while.

There was some concern as to whether the tour would continue as Belinda had been complaining of a sore throat and cold symptoms a few nights before the London show. She even had to drop three songs from the set the previous night in Manchester as she couldn’t sing them properly in her current condition.

Luckily all concerns were put to rest when Belinda stepped onto the stage with her six piece band – James Nisbet and Dave Taggart (guitars), Mark Taylor (keyboards), Lily Gonzalez (vocals and percussion), Andy Carr (bass) and Alex Toff (drums) – at the packed out IndigO2.

The crowd were on their feet from the off, dancing and singing along to every song. The first song was ‘Runaway Horses’ which is a powerhouse track and great set opener, after that it was straight into ‘We Want The Same Thing’, then the first of the two new songs ‘Sun’. This is not my favourite song but it works well live. It is very much in the ‘Europop’ vain. Not really the direction I would like to see Belinda take but I guess it works commercially today.

Her voice sounded good to me, rich, warm and velvety. She looks very healthy these days and glowingly happy. Dressed nicely in black she looked totally stunning! The hits keep flowing with ‘I Get Weak’, In Too Deep’, ‘California’ and ‘Circle In The Sand’, then taking the tempo down a bit for ‘Valentine’ and ‘Vision Of You’. Next up was two more of my favourites from the “Runaway Horses” album: ‘La Luna’ and ‘Summer Rain’, then it was ‘Mad About You’ from her first solo album. ‘Big Scary Animal’ from the underrated “Real” album had everyone clapping.

Two huge anthems followed – ‘Live Your Life Be Free’ and ‘Leave A Light On’, before the first encore, with a surprise – the title track from her sixth solo album ‘A Woman And A Man’. This is the first tour this song has been played live. It is a nice song and works well tonight.

The Go-Go’s classic ‘Our Lips Are Sealed’ sounded just beautiful, before her huge, number one hit ‘Heaven Is A Place On Earth’ had the crowd in a frenzy of excitement! The last song of the night was the other new song, ‘Goodbye Just Go’. The vocals are first class on this one and it went down well with the crowd.

The gig was a great success all round. Belinda pulled off a great performance and the crowd went home very happy!!

Steven C. Gilbert

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