Hazel O’Connor – The Bedford

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Why this gig?

Because it’s not often that one of idols of your youth plays in the pub at the end of your road. Seriously, there’s no way I wasn’t going to be at this show.

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Hazel O’Connor has a stripped-back backing band which consists of two women. One of them is Clare Hirst, formerly of the Belle-Stars, playing sax and the other is Sarah Fisher who has played with people like the Eurythmics. So there’s a lot of talent on stage.

With a line-up like that, you might expect that the night would be heavily nostalgic. But it really isn’t. There are maybe five songs from Breaking Glass scattered through the set, but there’s plenty of newer stuff too. And the new songs are just as enjoyable as the older ones. With just piano and sax, some of the Breaking Glass material needs to be reworked quite a lot – but it works well. And Will You is, of course, as magnificent as it always was.

Sometimes, revisiting your idols thirty-odd years after their hey-day can be a dodgy proposition. That certainly wasn’t the case here. Hazel’s voice is, if anything, better than it was in 1980.

In some ways it’s a bit of a shame that she is playing tiny venues like the Bedford. But, on the other hand, it gives you a great chance to enjoy a great performer with an intimacy that would have been missing completely at her shows thirty years ago.

If her tour brings her to a pub back-room in your town, then I recommend you go and see her.

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