Friday, 8 March 2013

Review of Ron Sexsmith at the Royal Albert Hall, London, on March 7, 2013

A fabulous concert from first song to last. It just got better as Ron's rich voice warmed-up and filled the hall over his hour-and-half on stage.

The best moment was genuinely moving. The nostalgia of the elegiac Deepens With Time was made even more poignant when Ron told us his mum and dad had made the trip from Canada for the show. "Here we are, Ron!' shouted his dad, and the house lights went up to reveal his folks in a box at the back of the hall. It's a classic Ron song - poetic, wistful, vulnerable, maybe even a bit sentimental. He wrote it for Faith Hill. But it's his song.

That voice reminds me a bit of Paul McCartney, especially in a song like Love Shines with its Springsteenesque opening line, "In every nowhere town, there are somewhere dreams."

Ron spoke with genuine pride about working with Don Black on his new album, the man who wrote the lyrics to Born Free. And with the same pride about getting a good luck message on the night from a classic piano pop-maker from a previous generation, Gilbert O'Sullivan. Alone again. Naturally

Like Gilbert's flat-cap and braces 70s persona, Ron doesn't look a classic pop star. He's got a troubled, chubby face - an outline caricature version of it in lights formed the backdrop last night - he wears a big check jacket, crumpled grey slacks, an acoustic guitar hung round his neck and seems a bit uncomfortable on stage. He leaves any movement to the lead guitarist and keyboard guy in his four-piece band.

He self-deprecates all the time. He seemed a bit offended by someone in Amsterdam who'd criticised his use of a synthesiser instead of a real strings section. As he said, he's not the kind of guy who can afford to travel with an orchestra, even if superstars like Michael Buble and Elton John have swelled the coffers with some covers of his songs.

When he came back for a three-song encore he made a quip about never understanding the tradition of walking off at the end then back on again. It got him another standing ovation.

His mum and dad must be very proud.

1 comment:

  1. Nice guy, great songsmith. Loved it all last night although his voice did take a bit of warming up. Memorable stuff