Soul Queen casts a spell

Beverley Knight, Regent Theatre Claiming to be the Queen - or indeed King - of anything always strikes me as a huge over-statement that you could never really hope to live up to or sustain.

Beverley Knight, Regent Theatre

Claiming to be the Queen - or indeed King - of anything always strikes me as a huge over-statement that you could never really hope to live up to or sustain.

After all, look what happened to career of Michael Jackson, and he was only the Prince of Pop - I dread to think what might have happened were he crowned King.

So when Beverley Knight, the apparent UK Queen of Soul heads to Ipswich to perform as part of her latest tour, there's every possibility that taking such a title could turn out to be a mistake of majestic proportions.


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However, after seeing her in action, I can only stand corrected.

The tour, named after her most recent album, Music City Soul, gives Knight a chance to strut her stuff, belt out hit after hit and prove just why her title is so deserved and treat an enthusiastic crowd to a seriously impressive show.

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All too often, performers seem somewhat bored by their own performance and keen to reach their final song, but Beverley Knight seems to enjoy the show just as much as her audience, and there was no rush to the end or lack of energy to be seen.

The show started with a number of songs from the current album, including Ain't That A Lot of Love, Every Time You See Me Smile, and The Queen of Starting Over. Another song, After You, she dedicated to a fan who had come to watch her Regent show last year aged 91, but who had died a few weeks ago. Simple things like remembering people's names and the hospice where they were cared for goes a long way towards showing that this is a woman who pays attention.

A fantastic version of her cover of Janis Joplin's Piece of My Heart certainly made sure everyone else started paying attention too.

Tracks from previous albums, such as Shoulda Woulda Coulda, Keep This Fire Burning, Gold and Come As You Are were all huge crowd pleasers and ensured the Regent crowd had little time to sit and relax.

After this show, I think Knight can justifiably lay claim to being the Queen of Soul and I doubt her crown is likely to tarnish any time soon.

HELEN JOHNS

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