Dionne Warwick With Orchestral Accompaniment And Special Guest Jon Allen, September 2018, Royal Albert Hall, London, United Kingdom

Dionne Warwick With Orchestral Accompaniment And Special Guest Jon Allen

Tuesday 18th September 2018

Royal Albert Hall, London, United Kingdom

John Bull/Rockrpix

The singer stares out at us from the stage with a stern expression. We have not quite got the mass chorale right on the refrain of What The World Needs Now…and we are going to have to up our game. All part of the fun of course, Ms Warwick seems delighted by the audience response to her singing, her stories, the sound of the touring band plus horns and brass AND sublime strings ensemble AND of course the song choices. Hit after hit and the warm glow for everyone in the crowd as intro’s are recognised and the urge to sing along cannot be quelled.

Dionne – in colourful layered evening dress – started the show with a relaxed introductory chat, her voice purring over tinkling piano. This, she explains is to outline this evening’s plan of action. In short, we are about to be soaked in beautiful melodies from her entire career and she wants us to enjoy it all. Enjoy it we do, the experience of the core group to the fore as two keyboards propel the sound along, rich electric bass hits the changes and her son on the drums working so very well with the versatile percussionist. No guitar, bar a few sample patches from the keyboards. The MD switches between acoustic piano and the Yamaha Motif model favoured by Deodato Bacharach material of course demands clipped horns and rolling cadences. The string section with many young players aboard look thrilled to be involved and attain a sweet, filmic blend that is supple, sweet and at times of extraordinary depth.

The songs…well Dionne includes her own hits plus her own versions of songs made famous by others eg Alfie, Anyone Who Had A Heart. A segment of film themes brought back many memories and sighs of approval. A detour into some Brazilian material proved a delight, prompting Warwick to leave her seat and sway to the rhythms and making full use of the lively percussionist. I Say A Little Prayer, a lilting This Girl’s In Love With You, an aching The Look Of Love, bouncy Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, a sombre A House Is Not A Home, the rolling Do You Know The Way To San Jose, a delicious 99 Miles From LA. Not only these – we get Message To Martha, the twinkling Trains & Boats & Planes, Walk On By, Don’t Make Me Over, a relaxed Close To You…

The international hit Heartbreaker garners an enthusiastic reaction, some dancers leaping to their feet as soon as it starts. The skill of bringing the warmth of a club to a massive hall is in Warwick’s gift and likely always has been. Her style eschews the note-twisting cod-soul exhibited by many of her contemporaries and would-be successors. She decides when to bring up the volume. She hold notes. No auto-pilot in this performance.

A guest spot by Warwick’s grand-daughter Cheyenne Elliott is a delight, the lass’ strong voice combining well with the seasoned tones of her grandma. Her refined movement, healthy complexion and impossibly trim waist suggest an avoidance of Oreos and Peanut butter. Her full-length black attire suits the setting.

By the time of That’s What Friends Are For, the whole crowd knows what a treat this session has been. The players are applauded as the performance wraps up.

Earlier, songsmith Jon Allen’s sandpapered voice and emphatic guitar filled the huge room, making fine use of the lucid sound. Every word heard clearly and with just a pianist on stage with him, this was the place to do justice to his tales of romance lost and found, yearned for and beached. Featuring songs from his four albums, the audience gave Allen their full attention and he was manifestly adding to his keen following. A quick word before the show found me suggesting he include In Your Light which he most graciously did. At the merch desk later, many were after the album on which the song features (Jon’s first). Set highs included a crisp Tightrope, the pleading If I can’t Have Your Love, the intriguing Last Orders, written at a wedding abroad. The perfect start to the evening.

Pete Sargeant



(Thanks to Hush PR team, John Bull & Jon Allen)

All Photos Credited to John Bull/Rockrpix

Dionne Warwick’s September 2018 UK Tour continues until Monday 24th September 2018.

For tickets and more information visit her official website here: http://bit.ly/2MNiYq7

Jon Allen’s new studio album ‘Blue Flame’ is out now.

You can read our full album review here: http://bit.ly/2HTAEC3

For more information visit his official website here: http://bit.ly/2DGE1Lc






Rockrpix is John Bull… or John Bull is Rockrpix… Much the same.
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