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Caro Emerald at Symphony Hall, Birmingham - Review

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
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Dutch singer brings some pre-Christmas sparkle to city
Caro Emerald's 2015 UK shows are part of the singer's The Absolutely Me Tour. It could easily have been called The Absolutely Fabulous Tour because that's just what the first of her two Birmingham shows was.

Caro Emerald, Symphony Hall Birmingham, Absolutely Me Tour, Review
Fabulous: Caro Emerald at Symphony Hall


You can't beat a concert beginning with a surprise and in this case it was Caro standing in the audience to sing her opening number, The Other Woman. As her band played on she moved to the stage to continue the gig more conventionally.

The Dutch songstress's last Birmingham show was in 2014 at the cavernous National Indoor Arena (now the Barclaycard Arena). This time around her jazz-pop songs benefitted hugely from the improved acoustics offered by Symphony Hall and the more intimate nature of a smaller venue.

Caro Emerald, Symphony Hall Birmingham, Absolutely Me Tour, Review
Impressed: Caro Emerald admiring Symphony Hall from the stage


Caro was certainly impressed. ''What a beautiful place, it feels like the Royal Albert Hall,'' she said, before being corrected by a fan who shouted, ''It's better than the Albert Hall.''

The setlist differed slightly from her last visit, partly because of the inclusion of some new music, including latest single Quicksand which featured audience participation and a guitar riff that would not have sounded out of place in a Tarantino movie.

Caro Emerald, Symphony Hall Birmingham, Absolutely Me Tour, Review
Riffs: Caro Emerald with guitarist Wieger Hoogendorp, trumpeter Ben Cummings and saxman David Temple,


The encore saw the unveiling of another new song, Helicopter Boy, with its calypso, reggae-lite rhythm.

Then there was the genius of a cover version of Meghan Trainor's All About That Bass which, Caro claimed, could be interpreted in one of two ways. ''Tonight I'm choosing the instrument,'' she grinned.

However, it was another cover that got the crowd roaring with approval – a rip-roaring version of History Repeating, originally recorded by Propellerheads and Shirley Bassey.

Caro Emerald, Symphony Hall Birmingham, Absolutely Me Tour, Review
Talent: Caro Emerald with Stephen Large on stage at Symphony Hall


Caro is a great singer and entertainer and she has cleverly surrounded herself with superb musicians in order to make her concerts something special.

Her six-man band are each multi-instrumentalists who also sing and dance, especially during Dr Wanna Do when three of them performed a co-ordinated routine. So take a bow, keyboardist and musical director Stephen Large, guitarist Wieger Hoogendorp, trumpeter Ben Cummings, saxman David Temple, bassist Jeroen Vierdag and drummer Remon Hubert.

Caro Emerald, Symphony Hall Birmingham, Absolutely Me Tour, Review
Imaginative: Lively images added to the spectacle at Caro Emerald's show


While I'm giving out awards, a big hand for the lighting and effects team who brought the songs to life with some bright and imaginative film and animation on the screens at the back of the stage. I particularly liked the ocean liner during Pack Up The Louie, the Las Vegas-style neon for Liquid Lunch and the silhouette of a running figure during That Man.

Did everyone leave smiling and humming their favourite Caro Emerald song? Absolutely!

Caro Emerald, Symphony Hall Birmingham, Absolutely Me Tour, Review


SETLIST

The Other Woman
Absolutely Me
Riviera Life
Back It Up
Quicksand
The Lipstick On His Collar
Black Valentine
Pack Up the Louie
History Repeating
Dr. Wanna Do
I Know That He's Mine
All About That Bass
You Don't Love Me
Just One Dance
Liquid Lunch
That Man
Stuck

Encore:

Tangled Up
Helicopter Boy
A Night Like This

Caro Emerald's remaining 2015 UK tour dates:

Dec 10: Pavilions, Plymouth;
Dec 11: International Centre, Bournemouth;
Dec 12: Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham;
Dec 14: Colston Hall, Bristol;
Dec 15: Bridgewater Hall, Manchester;
Dec 16: Eventim Apollo Hammersmith. London.


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Why? Sparkling pre-Christmas show from Dutch gem
When: Until December 16, 2015
Phone: 0844 811 0051/ 0844 826 2826
Where: Symphony Hall, Birmingham, then touring
Cost: £22.50/ £32.50 /£45 plus fees
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