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If there is one thing you can be sure of, it’s that an evening in the company of Paul Carrack will satisfy the soul. For a packed house at the Sheffield City Hall, it has almost become an annual pilgrimage to see one of the city’s greats return home on his latest tour.

Wearing his trademark hat, and with guitar in hand, Carrack opened the show, gently, with Amazing from his most recent album release These Days before picking up the pace, mid-song.

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“We appreciate you coming out to see us,” Carrack told the Sheffield faithful. The appreciation was mutual, Carrack’s appeal is universal with his easy-going manner, warm vocals and extensive musical catalogue. Whether with his guitar or behind the keyboards, his audience just relax into the performance as he delivers his classy ballads Satisfy My Soul and Eyes Of Blue or the more up-beat Tempted from his time with Squeeze.

For those who have seen Carrack before, he suggested they may have heard, once or twice, how he came to write That’s All That Matters To Me. “This is a song I wrote when my daughter went off on her travels with her boyfriend, now husband. She had a job as a physiotherapist in London but decided she hadn’t seen the world, so off she went.” Smiling, he added “I wanted to share this with you, we had a grand-daughter in the last week or so.” Cue: round of applause.

Carrack’s band is a well-oiled machine. Andy Staves (guitar) and Steve Beighton (sax and flute) regularly step into the spotlight to add additional colour, Jeremy Meek’s bass and the twin drums of Dino Duke and Carrack’s son Jack drive the music along while James Locke (musical director and keyboards) holds everything together.

The latest album These Days features prominently in throughout set. Life In A Bubble, Perfect Storm and the reggae inspired title track are all well received before Carrack and the band move on to Bet Your Life, from Soul Shadows, which becomes an extended jam session. Carrack’s piano solo is followed by the soulful sax Beighton and a soaring guitar break from Staves.

Time for a couple ballads and Jeremy Meek swaps his bass guitar for an upright bass. Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying was written by Gerry Marsden who Carrack saw on this very stage around 50 years ago. The second, Buddy Holly’s Raining In My Heart, is a song Carrack says is very special to him. “It’s the first record I ever had shares in, with my brother.”

Paul Carrack Photo: Geoff Ford
Paul Carrack Photo: Geoff Ford

“You never paid your half!” calls a voice from the audience. Brother John is in the house!

No Paul Carrack concert would be complete without the wonderful The Living Years. This is a quiet and tender recital this emotional song, one that brings a lump to the throat and resonates with so many.

The pace picks up again with the lively You Make Me Feel Good and Carrack urges everyone to their feet, it was time to party as the band launched in to a rousing version of How Long, harking back to Carrack’s first appearance in the charts with his 70s band Ace.

Calls for an encore are heeded and the band returns for Over My Shoulder, from Carrack’s time with Mike And The Mechanics and the Jackie de Shannon classic When You Walk In The Room.  “Thank you, Sheff’, we appreciate it,” he called, and seemed genuinely moved by their reaction, their warmth and love for their favourite son. “Would you like another one?” Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On.

Paul Carrack Photo: Geoff Ford
Paul Carrack Photo: Geoff Ford

Throughout the evening the band were in great form, providing Carrack with the perfect platform from which to deliver a sublime performance, everyone left with their souls well and truly satisfied.

Setlist

  • Amazing
  • Tempted
  • Eyes Of Blue
  • Life In A Bubble
  • Satisfy My Soul
  • That’s All That Matters To Me
  • Perfect Storm
  • Bet Your Life
  • Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying
  • Raining In My Heart
  • One In A Million
  • The Living Years
  • Love Will Keep Us Alive
  • Late At Night
  • These Days
  • Groovin’
  • You Make Me feel Good
  • How Long

Encore

  • Over My Shoulder
  • When You Walk In The Room
  • What’s Going On

Paul Carrack’s UK tour continues through February and March and includes shows in Manchester, Harrogate and Hull.

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