Review: Elkie Brooks, The Riverfront, Newport

I was introduced to Elkie Brooks music when she was a guest on The Two Ronnies TV show for several consecutive Saturday nights back in the 1980s. Her mix of jazz, blues and rock vocals were as much an eagerly awaited treat on a Saturday evening for me as Messrs Barker and Corbett’s comedy, so it was great to have some of that magic reignited at Newport Riverfront on Saturday evening.

The years rolled away as Elkie stepped onto Newport Riverfront’s stage to the sound of rapturous applause and backed by a six-strong band of talented musicians. Looking elegant in a silver dress, she belted out a cross range of blues standards, rock classics and a pick of her greatest hits for nearly two hours.

Launching into the upbeat track Hurricane, Elkie performed with energy and enthusiasm displaying that she still has what it takes as one of the greatest voices in British Rock. She then paid homage to Percy Sledge with the bluesy Warm and Tender Love. This was followed by the first of several hits from her back catalogue, her classic rendition of Chris Rea’s Fool if You Think It’s Over from 1982.

Elkie Brooks played Newport’s Riverfront Theatre in October, 2008.Elkie Brooks played Newport’s Riverfront Theatre in October, 2008.

Elkie Brooks played Newport’s Riverfront Theatre in October, 2008.

It was apparent Elkie was thoroughly enjoying performing and caught the audience’s attention throughout. At one point she even held a note for well over a minute, I wonder how many of today’s so-called stars could achieve that?

Rocking the Riverfront up a bit in the second half, Elkie paid tribute to The Doors with a fantastic version of Roadhouse Blues and then treat the audience to more of her hits including Lilac Wine, Sunshine After the Rain, We’ve Got Tonight and her anthem Pearls a Singer.

Rather than likening Elkie to a Pearl, I’d say by her performance on Saturday evening, she is still one of the finest jewels in the crown of the British Music scene. I would recommend that if you get a chance to catch her in the future, you should book early before she sells out again

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