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Tony Christie’s Amarillo entered the public consciousness permanently with Comic Relief and as a seasoned performer with a self-deprecating sense of humour he himself quips “most people think Peter Kay recorded it.”
I’d never seen Tony live before so I was expecting a few old hits but what I got was, well, a masterclass in the delivery of the popular song, many of them his own huge international hits, displayed with chutzpah, style, verve, and most crucially, real feeling, none of them diminished by his now global acclaim.
At this point I mustn’t forget to mention his band, I think the best small ensemble I’ve ever seen, everyone a virtuoso who knows his own strength and plays brilliantly up to it through a demanding set of starry, soulful successes from his back catalogue.
As the evening warmed up Mr Christie’s voice relaxed until his beautiful, full-throated phrasing did full value to his many hits without ever losing the intimacy of their often deeply felt lyrics.
I’m trying hard to think of somebody like him but really there isn’t anybody – even Sir Paul McCartney’s virtually stopped performing – and yet here is Tony still in full flight majestically doing what he does modestly and quite unobtrusively best – entertaining. The packed, appreciative house said it all.
It’s hard from a whole evening’s string of hits to single out one top moment because this whole concert was that unexpected rarity, a superbly intimate show, all in a small space, which touched every nerve and which frankly deserves to go national.
On this showing alone Tony Christie is a national treasure whose charm is that he doesn’t appear to take himself or his dedicated craft too seriously while really delivering the goods.
So here in Lichfield resident Mr Christie we have a genuine star performer, modest yet accomplished and sure of his own talent while showing no sign of slowing down over an evening that became a masterclass in showmanship, taste, class, and ultimately, in style.
More please, Tony, more.
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