Unbelievable. That’s the word I’d use if I were to give a one word review. If I were to give two? Absolutely unbelievable.
It was a great evening a the Union Chapel, a venue which has hosted some fantastic artists over the years and Hugh Laurie can now be added to that list. I arrived at the venue 15 minutes before doors opened and the queue was already winding it’s way along the street, excitement building amongst those waiting to go in. Even though there were a hell of a lot of people in front of me, I still managed to get a good seat in the 4th row with a great view of the stage.
There was only an hour to wait between doors opening and the start of the set but it seemed like a lifetime, I couldn’t wait for it to begin! The wait was worth it though as I spotted the very beautiful and talented Amber Tamblyn (House co-star) making her way to a seat a few rows behind me. Finally when the lights dimmed, the band made their way onto the stage, minus Hugh. Everyone had their eyes pinned on the door to the backstage area however Hugh was making his way down the Chapel isle from somewhere behind us, taking it all in. The crowd went wild!
- Bright Mississippi
- St. James Infirmary
- Crazy Arms
- Six Cold Feet
- You Don’t Know My Mind
- Battle Of Jericho
- Buddy Bolden’s Blues
- Careless Love
- The Whale Has Swallowed Me
- Winin’ Boy
- Swanee River
- Dear Old Southland
- Hallelujah I Love Her So
- Let Them Talk
The great thing about the gig was between every single song, Hugh would interact with the crowd with a few jokes and give stories on the songs he was performing. It was an intimate setting, fantastic stuff. The band behind him were absolutely fantastic, true American blues musicians! You don’t get any better than that. Even though this was Hugh’s gig he always mentioned the band after every song they performed.
The set was outstanding, the band were as tight as a ducks arse and Mr Laurie was on top form. I love the blues, so for me it was brilliant listening to so many great renditions of songs I already know and love. ‘Battle Of Jericho’ had an extremely dark and rough feel for it with a stomping beat that felt like the Chapel was falling down around us. ‘You Don’t Know My Mind’ (the first single from his album) is already a firm favourite of the fans and got the crowd going, and ‘The Whale Has Swallowed Me’ was brilliant to hear, a track by J.B. Lenoir that I love very much.
There were so many highlights from this gig, performances of ‘You Don’t Know My Mind’, ‘Battle Of Jericho’, ‘Buddy Bolden’s Blues’ and ‘The Whale Has Swallowed Me’ all included, but the whole evening was a highlight. There was never a dull moment from when I entered the Chapel to when I left. Every single song was sublime, the music fantastic, the vocals out of this world! A lot has been said about Hugh Laurie’s vocal performance on ‘Later…with Jools Holland’, and I don’t know why. The BBC have always mixed that show extremely badly and it didn’t do him justice. At the Union Chapel he put all doubts to rest. He’s an actor, comedian, musician and singer, and he’s damn good at all of them!
As I come to the end of my review, I think of that one word as the beginning of it that summed up the gig for me. Unbelievable. I left the venue with such a buzz, and I even got to see Amber Tamblyn again before I left. Perfect!