I go to many live shows, I have reviewed Beth live performances before tonight the show can be captured in a sentence. Beth Hart Debut in Cardiff Simply Phenomenal!
Before we look deeper into a performance that is still sending shivers and causing goosebumps on a Sunday morning, we mustn’t overlook fellow record label acoustic opening set by Kris Barras Band. Taken out of his comfort zone this is not the full electric show as tonight, as a trio, he stripped back his music. Joining him on stage Josiah J Manning on keys and acoustic guitar and drummer Will Beavis. We know he is one of the most exciting rock/blues guitarist out there with his current album, The Divine and Dirty and his debut on Mascot Label Group is receiving critical acclaim. But can the songs work when stripped down and mellow? Yes, they can and Kris Barras was never a pairing of words I would be putting together. He had thirty minutes to prove the acoustic concept. He did that as the crowds appreciate hearing the music in a different format. The highlight of the set was definitely Watching Over Me a song he wrote after his father’s death, the lyrics shone in this emotive and quieter format. His single Hail Mary took on a whole new dimension. He fitted the bill perfectly as he started a night of high anticipation at St David’s Hall, Cardiff.
Short break the chatter of Beth Hart fans looking forward to hearing her in the heart of Cardiff as the may tiers of the hall filled the lights dimmed and silence as we waited for Beth and her band to enter stage left. The cheers and applause were warm we want to hear the music live. With a warm wave and smile the set was up and running with For My Friend full of her stage energy the audience was hooked. Tonight she conquered St David’s Hall, phones were kept in the pocket for most of the show the exception was when she decided that a walk through the audience was the order of the day. This was an audience captivated by the powerhouse vocals, emotional heart-rending delivery of the songs that she sings with her whole heart, soul and body. Beth was delighted to be in Wales for the first time only taken fifty years she said laughing.
The show was a mix of the old and new with tracks from her album Fire on the Floor. Tonight those who had only met Beth live through youtube and her live album Front and Center were treated to a professional and warm concert that will be talked about long after the hall falls silent.
Beth sang with ease her voice soaring into the rafters on numbers inspired by her mother and Billy Holiday, as we sat back and let Baddest Blues wash over us. Powerhouse number included Delicious Surprise a song for her sister. Later in the set her song dedicated to her husband Scotty from behind the piano alone she sang My California. The songs are personal a road map of her life the ups and downs and the ins and outs. Whether Beth Hart is sitting behind her grand piano, singing straight into the microphone or sat on a stool with her acoustic guitar or bass this ultra-talented multi-instrumentalist will always be defined by those very special vocal chords.
Tonight was filled with over twenty numbers that were all highlights. As ever there was a set list but Beth is her own woman and went off piste and sang the songs she wanted us to hear in the order that she wanted to play them. The lynchpin to hherability to mix up the order change the songs is the superb band touring with her, they know her songs so well it is effortless. On a myriad of guitars (all put to excellent use) Jon Nichols and a rhythm section that never misses a beat bassist Bob Marinelli and drummer Bill Ransom. We had a couple of superb covers including LaVern Baker’s Saved from Black Coffee the only thing that was missing was Joe Bonamassa, tonight that went unnoticed we wanted to hear Beth and her band.
The acoustic segment was four tracks of heavenly joy. With Jon Nichols, twelve string guitar playing sublime as we collectively sat in silent wonderment. Guitars changed and we had Boogieman, delivered in her Polka dot dress with a smile. The scary song inspired by a television programme watched as a child about what makes a serial killer. How she phoned her doctor to ask could she be a serial killer. To be told you’re mad but not that mad yet! What a number Beth definitely isn’t a serial killer but she does hold her audience captive with the songs and delivery. Highlight of this number was Bill on drums, his percussive work was stunning as he shook a can of beans, goat nails were shaken and the eerie whistling. For the last number in this special acoustic interlude her bassist leaves the stage as Beth takes the acoustic bass, Jon on a six-string and Bill with a tambourine the atmosphere was electric. The emotions could be felt in the air we were breathing. As the music faded Beth left the stage the hall fell silent. Then the roar began, it was too soon we want to have more of your time Beth songs we love hadn’t been sung it was too soon to say goodbye.
We didn’t have an encore we had a mini set of Beth and her band. Opening with Love is a Lie, the delightful jazz infused Jazz Man, Fire On the Floor and then sitting on at the front of the stage dedicated to a young boy in the audience her piece-de-resistance, the classic Etta James number Rather Go Blind. Tonight Beth nailed it harnessing the pathos and emotion making the song her own. Tears were shed, breathing halted as we dissolved into the musical beauty that is Beth Hart. You have found the road to Cardiff come back soon.
As I started the review I repeat – I have reviewed Beth live performances before tonight the show can be captured in a sentence. Beth Hart Debut in Cardiff Simply Phenomenal!
Beth Hart and her Band are still, on tour, a Live performance Not to be missed – check out dates and ticket links HERE