It’s been 46 years since the first appearance of the talent that is Joan Armatrading. And for 46 years her body of work increases with a quality that is few and far between in an industry lacking in such inspirational and inspiring artistes.
With her unique and easily identifiable vocal style, Armatrading was quite ground-breaking with British female singer/songwriters a rarity back in the Seventies, so the younger Armatrading laid a path for many to follow.
Opening the show with her latest album Not Too Far A Way in its entirety, it may seem a brave move yet with no support for the evening, it did make sense as we very rarely know anything by the support act and despite not knowing much of the new material, it worked wonderfully with Joan, her guitars plus an array of pedal effects that gave the songs an energy and a musical boost.
Dressed all in black with a times just her keyboards for accompaniment and no backing band it wasn’t without its problems as a few guitar and tech issues allowed Armatrading to converse more freely with crowd with a few quips and self-effacing put downs.
Highlights from the first half were the album’s title track plus the interestingly quirky Invisible(Blue Light) and the lovely Not Too Far Away.
Set two was a more retrospective one playing older songs which included of course hits such as All The Way From America, Rosie and the punchy Drop The Pilot and delighting the audience with an encore of the beautiful Weakness In Me, on piano and the song that really brought her to prominence, the ageless Love And Affection.
A quality evening from a quality performer who never fails to deliver