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Oh what a Knight

PUBLISHED: 13:18 29 May 2002 | UPDATED: 12:01 03 March 2010

Beverley Knight

The Regent, Ipswich

May 28



BLACK British chart music seems to be standing at a crossroads in the early 21st century.

It's great, then, that in the last twelve months, four women have put a bit of guts back into this flagging genre.

Beverley Knight

The Regent, Ipswich

May 28

BLACK British chart music seems to be standing at a crossroads in the early 21st century.

It's great, then, that in the last twelve months, four women have put a bit of guts back into this flagging genre.

Three of them are Mis-Teeq, who wowed the Regent crowd earlier this year and the fourth is Beverley Knight.

Just as Ms Knight is shaking up the charts with her recent album Who I Am, last night she impressed a packed Regent crowd on this, the last of an eight-date tour.

Supported by three backing singers, Knight looked fantastic in striped trousers and a cropped vest as she burst into the opener, Are You Ready For Me.

As she moves straight into Made It Back, the crowd leap to their feet at her instruction: "What's up with this sitting down" she barks.

With a voice that could both shatter glass and melt snow within one subtle key change, Knight has a range and presence her peers would die for. Shape of You, for example, is a song that is reminiscent of Roberta Flack at her piano-tinkling prime.

One way to guarantee a sea of outstretched hands is to get the crowd involved and Beverley does just that in Greatest Day of My Life. The Bee Gees-sounding disco baseline is broken down and Beverley leads the crowd into a harmonious singsong.

Though some of her slower, delicate songs, truly lay bare her extraordinary talent. Fallen Solider, a song written in the memory of Stephen Lawrence, adds poignancy and delicacy to the show and another new song, Gold, recalls Joan Armatrading.

There are also cover versions – Kylie Minogue's recent chart-topper Can't Get You Out Of My Head looses its cheesy Euro disco hook and is given an altogether more herbal sound – as if it had been a spontaneous cast-off from the likes of Lee Perry or King Tubby.

While the third song of the encore is Coldplay's Trouble, a song Knight appears to have claimed as her own after first performing it on Radio One.

Recent hits Shoulda Woulda Coulda and Get Up raise the customary hollers, but the passion, poise and presence of her soul roots are the lasting memory many will take home.

This was a truly great Knight.

NR


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