Review: Lisa Stansfield still queen of soul

11 Jun 2013 @ 12.23 pm
| Entertainment

Big voice, big talent: Lisa Stansfield
Review: Lisa Stansfield
Venue: Grand Opera House, June 10


Monday saw the return of Lisa Stansfield to the live stage in the UK. For a period in the late Eighties and early Nineties, she was one of the biggest pop stars in the world, having massive hits here and in America. She performed duets with George Michael (before he started falling out of cars) and Queen, and won loads of Brit awards.

Stansfield won Ivor Novello awards and sold over 15 million albums. So, not much to live up to with a musical comeback then? Her first album in nearly ten years is due out soon and so I expected to hear a lot of it.

I will be honest, what I know of her is primarily based around my parents being fans while I was in my teens, but I knew there would be at least a couple of songs I would recognise.

The show started in a rather odd fashion, with a DJ on the stage, playing Northern Soul classics. No arguments from me, just a little strange, no introduction or dancers or anything – just a DJ with great tunes.

After a short interval, it was show time. The band appeared, and started playing. Halfway through appeared the lady herself, looking stunning.

It has been said before, but it always astounds me that a voice so big and soulful can appear from such a tiny woman, but then in-between songs, out comes a really strong Lancashire accent. Not relevant, just always makes me laugh.

On stage, on song: Lisa Stansfield performs at the Opera House. Photograph: Steve Shooter
On stage, on song: Lisa Stansfield performs at the Opera House. Photograph: Steve Shooter

We were introduced to a new song, a little more delicate and refined than some of the older, dancier material, but beautiful nonetheless. We were treated to versions of all of Ms Stansfield’s biggest hits, including her underrated cover of Barry White’s Never Never Gonna Give You Up.

Fans old and new were up dancing to the classics Someday, People Hold On, Change and All Woman, but there was only one song that could be considered for an encore, what I would think of as the defining Lisa Stansfield song: All Around The World.

A great live band, including a very strong horn section, backed up what was a great way to start off the UK leg of her tour. On this evidence, Lisa Stansfield has not lost a step, and this audience went home very happy indeed – and I look forward to the new album.