Sunday, 6 October 2019

P.P. Arnold at Middlesbrough Town Hall

P.P. Arnold
Middlesbrough Town Hall
2 October 2019
The first stop on the tour for The New Adventures of…P.P. Arnold – her first solo album for 51 years – made for an excellent evening of soul and blues in Middlesbrough last night.

Arnold, a former Ikette, has worked with an extraordinary rage of people over the course of her lengthy career, including Mick Jagger, The Small Faces and Roger Waters, usually on backing vocals.

However, this tour brings Arnold to the front of stage and, backed by an eight-piece band, she is able to showcase her material and powerful voice.

Steve Craddock (Ocean Colour Scene, Paul Weller et al) is the leader of the band and his guitar work is exemplary.

The set list brought together prime cuts from all across her career and merged them with the material from the new album and three top shots were saved for the impressive encore.

Arnold turned 73 the day after the gig but age has had no apparent impact on her voice or energy. At various times during the show she talked a little about her experiences from a lifetime in the business, such as the time Mick Jagger took her a walk during the 1966 Ike and Tina Turner UK tour and persuaded her to stay in England to pursue a solo career. The stories never outstayed their welcome though and nor did they kill the pace of the show.

It was a very entertaining evening, albeit one with a smaller audience than one might have expected; with approximately 150 people, the show was in The Crypt rather than the main room. However, that suited those of us who enjoy intimate gigs just fine.

Apart from the excellent music, one was left with the impression that the drummer looks remarkably like Jack Harper (the conductor) from On The Buses, which kept me smiling all evening.

Keep up to date with the P.P. Arnold news and tour dates over at her official website.