Review: John Otway @ Lichfield Guildhall

An appreciative audience at the Lichfield Guildhall was treated to a typically high-energy performance by singer-guitarist John Otway.

John Otway on stage at the Lichfield Guildhall. Pic: Nick Daws

John Otway on stage at the Lichfield Guildhall. Pic: Nick Daws

As Otway himself admits, over his long career he has had just two big hits, Really Free and Bunsen Burner, so he played one of these in each of his two sets at his gig on November 15. For the rest of the evening we were treated to a selection of his own songs, some old and some more recent, and a few covers.

Among the (many) highlights of the evening was a rendition of You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet by Bachman-Turner Overdrive, which at one stage involved Otway performing three somersault turns across the stage, on the last one landing partly on a loudspeaker. Thankfully, neither Otway nor the speaker appeared to be damaged.

Although the accent was firmly on comedy, Otway varied the pace with a few quieter numbers which showcased his skills as a musician and lyricist. These included the bitter-sweet Poetry and Jazz, which tells the story of a young girl growing up from bad beginnings and becoming a successful artist.

Otway seemed to be having as much fun as the audience, and it was no surprise when he returned to perform no less than three encores. These included a cover of The Osmonds’ song Crazy Horses, which provided the musician with a chance to display his skills on the theremin, and the final number, which involved him (and a plastic baby doll – you had to be there) head-butting the microphone with considerable venom.

We did just think it might have been nice if, following the encores, someone from Lichfield Arts had come on stage to thank Otway for his efforts and wish him well for the future. Still, it was a great night’s entertainment, and everyone left the Guildhall with smiles on their faces.