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Friday, December 23, 2011

Christine Tobin - Tapestry Unravelled, The Sage, Gateshead, Dec. 22.

Christine Tobin (vcl); Liam Noble (pno).
This was a really enjoyable Hall Two gig from the strong, sweet voice of Christine Tobin and the talented Liam Noble.  Carol King’s 1971 Tapestry album was celebrated lovingly, with most of the original songs performed in a more jazzy style, with some excellent piano solos.  Someone commented on Tobin's dress - blue with a golden pattern which may have been tapestry-type shapes – I was too far from the stage to see.
Notable songs included the haunting Home Again; the very positive Beautiful (dedicated to Tobin’s late sister who introduced Tobin to the Tapestry album); the spiritual-like Way Over Yonder with a lovely bluesy piano solo; and So Far Away, where Liam Noble somehow made the piano portray distance and space and what I can only call ‘farawayness’.  Then there was a heartfelt Natural Woman and Smackwater Jack, done as a funky piano piece.
Less successful, at least to my ears, were the 3 songs which were not from Tapestry.  First there was a Yeats poem set to music which would have been better left as a poem.  Next came a Brazilian song which I’d classify as world music, which was ok in parts.  For the encore Tobin did a song of her own which was good but not particularly striking.  Like many people of a certain age, the Tapestry songs brought back memories of my younger days, so it’s quite difficult to listen to newer versions of the songs, but it was an enjoyable evening anyway.
Ann Alexander

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