Saturday, 2 June 2012

Dionne Warwick at the Sage, Gateshead - review by Terry Kelly

Dionne Warwick
The Sage Gateshead

DESPITE fighting a cold, Dionne Warwick still exuded class for an adoring audience at The Sage.

Celebrating 50 years in the business, Warwick knows everything there is to know about stagecraft.

Although a throat problem hampered Walk On By and some of the first numbers she performed, the 71-year-old singer from New Jersey built in vocal confidence as the show progressed.

Backed by her top-notch band and a small orchestra, Warwick gave the audience what it wanted as she explored the peerless Bachararch and David songbook, with Alfie, Message to Michael, This Girl's In Love With You and Do You Know the Way to San Jose? all being instant crowd-pleasers.

But Warwick moved into a different gear with a newly-revamped version of I Say a Little Prayer, from her forthcoming album.

Riffing brilliantly on the title phrase, the song proved the vocal highlight of the night.

A Brazilian section possibly outstayed its welcome, but Warwick built towards a popular finale, getting the audience to harmonise on the Bee Gees' Heartbreaker and bringing the show to a close with her 1980s hit, That's What Friends Are For.

Even with a cold, Dionne Warwick remains the real thing.

Terry Kelly

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