Saturday 10th June, 2017 at Birmingham Pizza Express Live.
From Belfast to Birmingham, Rachel Tucker has delighted audiences on the 12 date UK leg of her first solo tour. Directed by Guy Retallack and joined on stage by Bassist Dan Giles, Drummer Kier Adamson and pianist and arranger (and organiser of all things On The Road), Kris Rawlinson, Rachel Tucker put on a dazzling show. Also making an appearance for some beautiful duets was Ashley Russell, who joined Tucker to take on some formidable songs with plenty of attitude and a passion reserved for those capable of the classic ‘diva’ finale note.
The set list was similar to that of the pre-tour Crazy Coqs shows back in March, but the tour adds a few more numbers including a hilarious homage to Tina Turner, complete with sparkly waist coat, rolled up trouser legs, the lip curl and that disctinctive dancing… Tucker was a force for the duration, whether crooning heartbreaking numbers or ruling the room for high octane numbers. Playful and assured, she happily delivered pizza along the way and sat amongst the crowd to deliver songs, anecdotes and stage show snippets.
As with the Zedel show, audiences remain in awe of the way Tucker switches from tears to laughter; it seems such a demanding thing to achieve to deliver the most emotional songs of shows without having the lead-up of the rest of the show – and yet Tucker can channel characters and lives with the toss-toss of her hair and no additional narrative required. It’s really something to behold and as she wipes away the tears from another gorgeously snarling, heart-lacerating rendition of The Man That Got Away to begin a livelier number, demonstrating once more that she is a stellar performer of great versatility.
This final UK show in Birmingham felt like something of a unicorn sighting; the kind of show that you hear about with scepticism but don’t really get to experience. By going to the last show in the UK, I found myself at a performance which felt like every note was extended just a little longer, every laugh was extricated with maximum kick and every jazzy number was executed with all the energy she was able to muster; this was Tucker at her full pelt, full speed ahead, maximum volume best. The volume of the cheers and applause after each performance were deafening and Tucker had no choice but to return to the stage for more as the crowd chanted her name – and if that’s not a sure sign of a bona fide star, I don’t know what is.
On the Road officially ends in New York in September at 54 Below and if you’re a New Yorker or fancy a trip, you can get your tickets here.