Who: Judie Tzuke
What: Songs and Stories Tour
Where: Ravenscourt Arts, Hammersmith, London
When: 11th April 2015
On the opening night of Judie Tzuke’s first UK wide all-acoustic tour, questions were invited from the audience as they will be on every night of this long jaunt around the country.
One sample question: What do you do to keep your voice so strong for so long?
Answer: Nothing. I was once given some vocal exercises but I’m afraid I’ve forgotten them.
And there lies a mystery because Ms Tzuke’s voice is every bit as strong and beautiful as it was when many of this audience first saw her on “Top of the Pops” a few (!) years ago and many a teenage boy fell in love with her. Indeed, it still has that clear platinum sound it always had at its best. Gone are the days when being cast as a rock chick by her record label, she occasionally had to adopt an odd pitch to be heard over the full-on band. Now there is a reassuring comfort about her voice. A full maturity.
The set list for tonight has been changed up from the “secret gig” she played at this very same venue, nearly two months ago, and in the same way there are changes in the band. Graham Kearns on acoustic guitar is where Ben Mark was before and Peter Gordeno (from The Producers and Depeche Mode) on keyboards fills the spot held by Tim Deal last time.
Also we must mention that last time out, Bailey Tzuke was heavy with child. This time, we are told the little one (Rani) is safely backstage!
Opening act, Chaz Thorogood delivered, as before, a strong and competent set with some evidence of strong and developing songwriting and a nice cover of Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower”.
Song changes for the main set? Well, new songs “Soldiers” and “Venus” are in, whilst older songs like “Sukarita” and “Left Hand Talking” are given the night off. Sadly, one of the highlights of last time “The Other Side” is not present tonight but we gain “For You” as an encore.
Besides that it is the same – “Ladies’ Night”, “Bring the Rain” and “Welcome to the Cruise” from the debut album; “Enjoy the Ride” from her project with Morcheeba; “All At Sea”, “If” and “So Emotional” from more recent albums; covers of “Woodstock” and “May You Never” and a lead for Bailey on “Uninvited” and for Tallula Tzuke on “Heartbeats”. And, of course, the big hit, “Stay With Me Till Dawn” to put the cream on top of the luscious cake. All-in-all, a well rounded and thought out set.
All of this broken up by different questions from the audience (although the question about who “Liggers at Your Funeral” was about persists) and different stories.
So refreshing sounds in a delightful sold out venue and vocals which are a marvel at any age. Judie says the musicians on stage and the songs in the set will continue to change up as the tour unwinds so much to look forward to. What’s not to like?!