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Eddi Reader leaves Guildhall spellbound

Eddi Reader, King's Lynn Festival star supreme. (3373368)
Eddi Reader, King's Lynn Festival star supreme. (3373368)

If everything had gone to plan, the news editor would have been writing about the night when Scottish singing sensation Eddi Reader brought a St George’s Guildhall audience to its feet on Friday night, writes WINSTON BROWN.

Instead, it is down to a guest reviewer from across the Lincolnshire/Norfolk border to claim that the ex-lead singer of Fairground Attraction and her band produced one of the most memorable live performances in the King’s Lynn Festival’s 68 years.

Competing against torrential rain, thunder and lightning, although it was never really a contest, Reader provided conclusive proof of her status as one of the UK’s most outstanding postwar vocalists.

All the classics like “Perfect”, “Find My Love”, “Patience of Angels”, “Fairground Attraction”, plus the Robert Burns-inspired “My Love Is Like a Red Red Rose”, were belted out with a voice powerful enough to bring Tuesday Market Place to a standstill.

Eddi Reader: 'I just go with the flow'.Photo by Rob McDougall. (3337580)
Eddi Reader: 'I just go with the flow'.Photo by Rob McDougall. (3337580)

But a warmth, repartee and delivery that can only be placed on a par with Sir Billy “The Big Yin” Connolly at his absolute finest, Reader and her phenomenal band sent her spellbound audience out at 10.15pm thirsting for more.

There was also room for newer songs, including “Meg of the Glen”, “A Sailor’s Farewell to the Sea”, “Sail Baby Sail” and “Pangur Ban”, the last song about a cat super-efficient at hunting mice.

After opening the concert with “Love Is The Way”, Reader said: “I’ve not got a set list so I’m just going to busk it”.

Later on, Reader added: “I’ve got a whole lot of songs in my head and after 40 years of touring, sat in the back of a van with three or four guys, I just like to go with the flow.”

With help from Irish accordian player Alan Kelly, double bass man Kevin Maguire, songwriting royalty in guitarist Mark “Boo” Hewerdine and fellow guitarist John Douglas, also Reader’s husband, St George’s Guildhall hosted a night of music from the gods.

Quite simply, Eddi Reader at the 2018 King’s Lynn Festival will stand forever as a musical landmark in time.

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