Another packed house at St David’s Hall for the Man in The Hat, Paul Carrack accompanied by a 7-piece band including Sax; Guitar, Bass, Keys and a two drummers with different styles and sound that complemented each other. Tonight they delivered a selection of tracks from his long career from Mike & The Mechanics, The Squeeze and up to today with numbers from his latest album. Three numbers, three guitars and a broken string…then change tempo and Paul moved onto his electric piano but nothing broke the rhythm and quality of the music. Large percussion section of double set drum for this track 4 providing a delightful percussive back drop a real crowd pleaser. Back on guitar now re-strung we heard the equivalent of lead and rhythm guitar with the drums providing a solid curtain of percussion which was overlay-ed by mournful sax, and tinkling keys and soaring up this crescendo of sound was Paul’s vocals. Then a Squeeze number reminding us if we needed reminding what great songs they produced in their day. Throughout the set Paul demonstrated his versatility and skill where playing guitar, keys or the wonderful sounding electric piano all combined with his melodious vocals that served to emphasise and gave an emotional colour and depth to the words.
With some great covers weaved in to the mix including a Bobby Bland number, (If Loving You is Wrong) I Don’t Want To Be Right and as all his family are great fans a Brenda Lee number I’m Losing You Now re-done for Paul Carrack’s latest album, personally I preferred Brenda’s version.
Just as the audience were settling in their seats and getting comfortable Paul upped the tempo with some audience participation with some clapping this ensured engagement and livened the atmosphere and swiftly followed by a Bruce Springsteen number If I Should Fall Behind introduced by Paul as ‘a great ballad’. Guitar, vocals and very dylanesque harp by this charismatic front man who held the audience in the palm of his hand from the front row and high into the gallery at St David’s Hall.
The myriad of guitars used meant that there was a change in tone and an opportunity to see as well as hear part of the Paul Carrack collection.
As we were in Cardiff, Paul was then joined by local friend Andy FairWeather Low ‘Wide Eyed and Legless bringing the house down, with great guitar playing from Andy bringing that high-octane energy to the stage. By the end of the evening Paul had got the crowds to their feet dancing the night away and singing their socks off creating a great atmosphere. There is something energizing about an audience up out of their seats….the crowds loved it and felt part of the show. Andy rejoined for the encore with the classic Amen Corner number ‘Paradise’ another great night of entertainment at St David’s Hall.