Lulu

CAROLINE CULOT NorwichTheatre Royal

CAROLINE CULOT

> NorwichTheatre Royal

No one – not even superstar Lulu – keeps the Norfolk public waiting as the little lady with the big voice found to her surprise last night.

It was not the best start to her UK tour when the woman who is the only British female solo artist to hit the charts in five decades was slow-clapped to come on by an audience tired of waiting.

We'd had a dismal support act from male soloist Barratt Waugh, who, talented though he is, bored us rigid with a string of very similar sounding ballads which left you wanting to go and lie down in a darkened room and cry rather than boogie the night away.

And after a further wait, Lulu – probably realising she had a lot to do – bounced onto the stage with a great opening number, Celebration.

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At least she knew how to party and from then on the evening got very much better.

It's hard to believe Lulu will be 56 in just over a week because she has the looks and the energy of someone very much younger.

The Back on the Track tour, coinciding with the release of her new album, sees Lulu reinvented as Rock Chick, complete with denim, black lace and her famous

John Frieda locks tied back loosely in a ponytail.

Last night saw an entertaining mix of old favourites including The Man Who Sold the World, Here Comes the Night (made a hit by Van Morrison) and I Don't Wanna Fight (made famous by Tina Turner.)

But then Lulu gave us her unforgettable version of Relight My Fire which she took to the charts with Take That in 1993 and also a glorious rendition, sung to a lucky male member of the audience, of We've Got Tonight which she released with Ronan Keating, as well as new tracks she and her brother have written which feature on the current album.

And, as many were secretly hoping, she closed the night with – well, what else but the song with made her a star 40 years ago, Shout.

Lulu gave a fab performance last night, and the voice, though raspier than it used to be, is oh so very much still there and what really comes across live is the performer's incredible range.

She is also so very much at home in front of a live audience because that is where it all started from for her – and long may she continue.

Lulu is appearing in Ipswich on October 27 and Peterborough on November 12.

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