REVIEW: Shakin' Stevens at Portsmouth Guildhall

You think you'd know what to expect from Shakin' Stevens' show at the Guildhall: many of his hits, plenty of rockabilly singalongs and a whole load of nostalgia? Wrong.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 15th May 2017, 10:38 am
Updated Tuesday, 16th May 2017, 2:17 pm
Shakin' Stevens. Picture: Graham Flack SUS-170504-071528003
Shakin' Stevens. Picture: Graham Flack SUS-170504-071528003

Shaky’s show was a contradiction throughout. He was determined to showcase material from his retrospective album Echoes Of Our Times, despite fans’ continued calls for the classics in the hope of being transported back to the ’80s.

He did share a few of those hits, although not in the Top of the Pops-style some may have expected. This ’Ol House was a slowed down bluesy affair with harmonica and slide guitar, and although Lipstick Powder and Paint, Marie Marie and Green Door did get an airing, this was much more about an artist proving that he’s not just a novelty act.

Covering his uncle’s death at Ypres in one song, his grandmother’s commitment to the Salvation Army in another and his family’s struggle in the Cornish mines in the opener, this was far from a retro hits show.

It seems the fans eventually got what they wanted: they were on their feet for the last half-a-dozen songs but Shaky made his point with his understated delivery of a wide range of blues-rock backed by an impressively tight nine-piece band. I left both surprised and impressed.