Full house in Cardiff with an audience full of anticipation as they took their seats to hear Chris Rea on his The Last Open Road Tour looking forward to quality live music that included their own personal Chris Rea track from his vast back catalogue. The offer of a 4Gbyte Memory Stick with the night show recorded on it in the shape of Chris Rea Guitar is a great idea a perfect Christmas present for many.
Before Chris entered from stage right the audience were treated to support from Island Sky who were part of the band with Chris Rea; the two singers had powerful voices and plenty of chatter to build up the atmosphere. Chris Rea did not waste a moment of his set with introducing songs, or engaging with the audience with any anecdotes, he knew the guitars and his voice would do the talking for him!
This is a tour that has a theme all about travelling and this part of the tour saw him in Wales with his trade-marked Fender Stratocaster and a selection of other guitars that reflected the stage setting of a guitar suspended from the ceiling and the lightning rig also in shape of a guitar. This axe-man added to the story a series of projected backdrops that all reflected the travelling vibe, that augmented every track and gave a feeling of travelling and meeting people along the way as the auditorium was filled with crowd pleasing tracks.
Throughout the set it was as if the audience wasn’t there for Chris Rea as he played some stellar slide guitar giving a masterclass in the dexterity he can achieve with a slide, and how this creates a whole series of sounds. Opening with Last Open Road and then a track with emotion Where The Blues Come From, the slide was icy as he delivered the music everyone was there to hear. The noise from the audience rose when the first chord of Road To Hell was played but Chris just played on with his impeccable style, throaty vocals then it was as if he realised there was an audience and pointed across the hall using the guitar as a musical scatter gun effect of staccato notes that sent a harsh shiver through the venue.
Throughout the set we heard and felt the cornerstone of his music deep within structures and forms that influences Rea in this rockers music giving his musical journey a grounding back to the roots of Rhythm and Blues.
The encore finished with the song everyone wanted to hear Driving Home For Christmas before going out into the cold night Cardiff air; before that we had the complete opposite with On The Beach with its Reggae inspired beat you felt the Caribbean sun and fun On The Beach. The audience was delighted with the bonus of a recorded Chris Rea and film track continuing to ring out across St David’s Hall, they left singing feeling good and full of festive cheer having heard some marvellous guitar work.
Last Open Road
Where The Blues Come from
Still So Far To Go
Somewhere Between Highway 61-49
Road To Hell
On The Beach
Driving Home for Christmas