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As we shuffle into our seats at the Paul Carrack show, I was immediately greeted with the awe-inspiring voice of Lauren Ray who made The Sage feel like an intimate gig with a friend. With just one spotlight,  a piano solo singer Lauren Ray captivates a crowded audience, they may be waiting for the main act but they are treated to the melodic tones of Lauren ray, her voice drawing a comparison to a young Beverly Craven.

With tracks that she penned on life experiences from a previous album to her most recent single “Irreplaceable”. The performance nicely topped off with a cover of The Sundays “Here’s where the story ends”.  I look forward to hearing the album later this May titled ‘Woman in the Arena’ which is available to pre-order.

It is a bitterly cold Sunday evening; The Sage is lit like a beacon and inside a well-wrapped audience are sitting patiently, eagerly awaiting the stage arrival of Mr. Paul Carrack.

Those inside seated need no introduction, but for those who do then let me give a brief insight into some of the artists Paul Carrack has been associated with over the past forty years. From his initial band Ace to Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Roxy Music, Squeeze, Mike Rutherford (Genesis) BB King, The Pretenders, Madness and even The Smiths!! He has written and co-written many a track that is etched lyrically into minds.

Carrack walks out on stage, guitar in hand, eager to play. With the smooth introduction of ‘Late at Night’ warming the crowd up. Carrack is sporting a grey suit and grey trilby, joined by a further six bandmates. The band strikes up the first chord, you immediately sense that this is a well-honed group of talented musicians who are about to give you something special and boy they did not disappoint!

The set is filled with his latest offerings from the Album ‘These Days’ of which I particularly enjoyed ‘Life in a Bubble’ which was co-written with ex-squeeze-bandmate Chris Difford.  

Now onto classic tracks with the crowd now singing along belting lyrics from ‘Tempted’, ‘Through the living years’, the audience is now warmed up and wiping away tears as the beautifully written tracks resonate nostalgia.  ‘Through The Living Years’ is such a poignant song, to which Carrack and his band played so true. The recognisable voice that never misses a note, once described as the man with the golden voice, Carrack not only lived up to the description but proved his musical ability; switching effortlessly from instrument to instrument each song.

After the interval we were treated to an intimate period with Carrack on guitar, Jeremy Meek on double bass and Jack Carrack on percussion.  The highlight is Carrack the storyteller, not only with the song lyrics but the introductions of each song, disclosing personal stories attached. The lights begin to dim and immediately the atmosphere has changed with the bands’ ability to switch to a more of an intimate jazz affair.  

Three songs later, the rest of the band gather with Carrack again gearing the band up with a real showcase of sax and guitar solos.  Carrack glancing to the crowd realising it’s a seated affair and motioning to the crowd to stand and dance – to which the room shot up – arms swaying and heads grooving.

A black piano is brought to the corner of the stage, with Carrack introducing a song  ‘Love Will Keep Us Alive’ which he dedicates to the late great Glenn Frey. The band offering backing vocals that gave the song an Eagles warmth with a Paul Carrack feel.

Paul Carrack and his traveling showcase of talent did not disappoint.  Carrack may have aged a little (gracefully of course) but the voice and musicianship still untouched.  It was a pleasure to watch a group who were so in sync and really loved to play alongside one another. The audience held captivated by the band, with their ability to ease and bring a glow to everyone watching.  

Thanks to our Guest Writer Carmichael for attending. See more by clicking here

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