Barbara Dickson - Cromer Pier Pavilion

Outside the Pavilion wintry wind, waves and rain battered the venue for its first show of the season.

Inside the heating battled to keep the capacity audience warm, but the classy opening act of the year did not.

Armed with a velvet voice, and personality to match, Barbara Dickson spanned folk and stage musical ballad to pop and rock in a show she is taking on the road to coincide with her new Words Unspoken CD.

She sang her signature songs - January February, Another Suitcase in Another Hall, Answer Me - but there is more to this endearing, enduring artist than that.

Dickson delved into her Celtic folk roots with some stunning Scottish songs, pared back to no or minimal accompaniment such as haunting pipes that complement her atmospheric voice.


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But she also put her own stamp on the work of other songwriters from George Harrison to James Taylor, a poignant version of the late Gerry Rafferty's Over My Head, and came bang up to date with Keane's Somewhere Only We Know.

Barbara closed the first half with a stunningly simple version of Bridge Over Troubled Waters - appropriate with the sea churning below the pier boards.

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Her duet song I Know Him So Well suffered a little from having Elaine Paige missing from the mix, but overall this show was a stunning showcase of music sung and played from the heart by a talented band, including multi-instrumentalist Troy Donockley who effortless switched between guitar, whistles, pipes and vocals.

After three encores building from an a capella folk song, to a lively jig then finishing with Caravans, Dickson was given a deserved standing ovation.

Richard Batson

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