Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
Suddenly You'll Be In Love With Billy
British music legend Billy Ocean has provided an iconic soundtrack of hits for generations since way back in the 1970's - so at the age of 67, can he still rock a tune?
Billy Ocean is back on stage for a 2017 tour
Billy Ocean has embarked on a new UK tour for the Spring of 2017 that continues nationwide until April 28, and I caught him midway on his road trip at Birmingham Symphony Hall.
In the 1980's, the soul-turned pop singer was renowned for his Miami Vice-style chic suits as he asked us to get out of his dreams and into his car, Now, he's still wearing suits but they are sophisticated, well cut ones that are almost as sharp as his dance moves.
The beard and long locks may now have turned grey, but he still has that same fun and charisma. Most of all, his voice is just as powerful, perhaps even more effective from experience.
Following the support act of double MOBO award-winning saxophonist YolanDa Brown, Billy comes on to do a rollercoaster of hits for 90 minutes from his latest double CD album Here You Are, which is a mix of his 'best of' along with covers of renowned songs by artists like Sam Cooke and Bob Marley.
So vast is Billy's back catalogue that the show takes the crowd through everything from disco to reggae, soul, pop and calypso.
He starts off by easing the crowd in slowly with lesser known songs like Are You Ready and Colour of Love, but warns them of what is yet to come, asking "Are you going to sing with me? Dance with me? Misbehave with me?" Which results in squeals of delight.
After around 20 minutes, the mood completely changes as Billy steps up the beat for his 1976 hit Love Really Hurts Without You. It gets everyone on their feet and as more favourites follow, there isn't much need to stay seated.
Accompanied by a talented live band, Billy storms his way through hits like Stop Me, then Red Light Spells Danger and Loverboy with an energy that defies his age.
His voice never falters but where it shines the most is during ballad Suddenly, still full of the joys and silky tones of romance.
Billy obviously loves a sing-along and constantly encourages the audience to join in with him and no more so than with this song. He even gives the crowd a nod after introducing the band and singers in the finale by calling everyone the "extra backing vocals".
Billy Ocean's tour comes on the back of his compilation album Here You Are.
The hits keep coming with a rousing rendition of Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car and When The Going Gets Tough. In between the singer is comfortable enough to chat, joke and have selfies with the audience.
Before long, all that's left is a finale of the Moody Blues track A Simple Game and the long-awaited Grammy award-winning hit Caribbean Queen.
With over 30 million records sold and tours at regular intervals under his belt, Billy Ocean is a natural entertainer on stage. What's more, he has maintained his youthful style, sashaying hips and soulful voice that make you feel like he's only getting better with age.
BILLY OCEAN - SPRING TOUR 2017
Tickets cost from £25.50.
Mon 3rd - Symphony Hall, Birmingham
Thurs 6th - Auditorium, Grimsby
Fri 7th - Sage 1, Gateshead
Mon 10th - Regent, Ipswich
Sat 15th - Mayflower, Southampton
Mon 17th - The Lowry, Salford
Tues 18th - New Theatre, Oxford
Thur 20th - The Palladium, London
Fri 21st - Cliff's Pavilion, Southend
Sun 23rd - St. David's Hall, Cardiff
Mon 24th - Brighton Dome, Brighton
Wed 26th - Colston Hall, Bristol
Thur 27th - De Montfort Hall, Leicester
Fri 28th - Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham