Review: Kerry Ellis: 20th Anniversary Tour, Apex, Bury St Edmunds, May 7
- Credit: Archant
Most tours tagged with a 20th anniversary label are showcases for sentimental trips down memory lane. Usually both performer and audience luxuriate in the hits from yesteryear but, what made Kerry Ellis’ 20th anniversary performance so refreshing was that, for the most part, her show was all about new music. The first half was filled with songs from her latest album Golden Days, which is a collaboration with Queen guitarist Brian May, and was a clear indication that Kerry is a performer who is looking forward rather than back.
Between numbers she informs the audience that she is juggling concert dates with playing Gwendolen in a UK tour of The Importance of Being Earnest, clearly Kerry remains a busy woman.
The show opens with barn-storming rocker Roll With You and is quickly followed with a clutch of other uptempo numbers including the Brian May song Panic Attack and a rocked up version of the Shirley Bassey anthem I Who Have Nothing, which Brian and Kerry performed at the San Remo festival in Italy.
In between songs, Kerry shares anecdotes from her career and relates how nervous she was when she did her first concert and found it daunting to find her voice: “As an actress, you have lines to say as a character. I wasn’t used to talking as me ... but, now, you can’t shut me up,” she laughed.
But, it wasn’t all about fast-paced rockers; a beautiful version of Amazing Grace, dedicated to the memory of her grandfather, and a gorgeous cover of Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling In Love had the audience singing along.
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In fact, there was quite a bit of audience participation with everyone joining in with Queen’s Somebody To Love and a front-row audience member called Melanie being invited by Kerry to duet on the Wicked song For Good.
My favourite songs of the evening, however, had to be a stunning Parisienne Walkways which closed the first half and a soaring, emotional version of No-one But You, from Kerry’s first big hit show We Will Rock You.
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The band were stunning and Kerry was aided by the massed voices of the London Show Choir for the song One Voice and for a spectacular arrangement of Ed Sheeran’s Give Me Love. The show ended with a rousing version of Defying Gravity which brought whoops from the capacity audience.
It was a terrific evening, which, not only showcased Kerry’s voice and engaging personality, but it dramatically demonstrated the range of her musical tastes. We are very lucky she never forgets her Suffolk roots.