Venue: The Buccleuch Centre, Langholm | Reviewer: Rachel Norris
SCOTLAND’S biggest-selling female singer of all time graced the stage of the Buccleuch Centre in Langholm with power, tenderness and heartfelt interpretations of songs by a stellar line-up of songsmiths.
Barbara Dickson’s passion for her craft has earned her millions of fans, huge respect in the industry and awards for her acting in musicals such as Blood Brothers.
She treated a packed house to songs covering several decades from some of her biggest heroes, including Gerry Rafferty and Bob Dylan, along with songs from shows written by the legendary Willy Russell and Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Before Barbara’s performance the audience enjoyed immensely the talented Anthony Toner who hails from Belfast and got everyone warmed up with a joke about the DUP.
The singer / guitarist was enthusiastically received not only for his skilful songwriting and delivery but also for his Northern Irish wit.
After the interval, Barbara was joined by keyboard player and backing vocalist Nick Holland. The pair enjoy short tours together, while taking a break from touring with Barbara’s band.
The highlights for me were the two songs by Rafferty: Family Tree and Look Over the Hill and Far Away and the haunting The Trees Grow Taller and The Leaves Grow Greener, a version of a traditional British folk song.
Barbara admitted that she was not a prolific songwriter but she had been writing some songs for a new album and she chose Shadow Meets the Light, a shining example of this multi-talented performer.
For musical fans she performed Another Suitcase, Another Hall from Evita and Tell Me It’s Not True, a song she herself sang while playing Mrs Johnson in Blood Brothers.
Bob Dylan, another of her heroes, made it in there, as did Carole King and Chris Leslie of Fairport Convention.
It’s been more than 40 years; it was, in fact, 1978 when the animation film Watership Down was released, resulting in Art Garfunkel’s hit song Bright Eyes.
Sadly, Mike Batt’s song, Run Like The Wind, which was sung by Barbara, was cut from the movie but she breathed new life into her character for the audience.
After rapturous applause and calls for more, Barbara returned to the stage to perform Caravan, also penned by Batt, and probably one her fans’ favourites.