The Blues Brothers brand has now endured for forty years, first appearing on the big screen in 1980. But Jake and Elwood don’t look much like rock stars, occasionally they don’t sing so well. Tall and skinny, short and fat maybe; but with shades and a pork pie hat they become the funky men in black; they are indeed the Blues Brothers.
Come to the Savoy Theatre any other night and you would have got 9 to 5 with the unshakable image of Dolly Parton. But tonight we struck gold and got Chicago Blues Brothers: Detroit Mission. Devotees filled the front row two by two, resplendent in traditional uniform. Comparisons with a Madness concert quickly spring to mind, as fans similarly dressed as their heroes stood out in the crowd.
An excellent two hour set opened with a Sam and Dave medley including a searing version of Soul man. This was followed by a solid cover of the Temptations’ Papa was a rolling stone; the inevitable Rawhide featured in the country and western segment finishing with Stand by your man. Chris Hindle and Gareth Davey in the title roles combined strong vocals with backbreaking choreography. A seven piece band was also on top form with a blinding arrangement of Green onions.
The Sweet Soul Sisters on backing vocals were sound and took the pressure off Hindle and Davey when it was most needed. Biddy Ronelle was a real standout, especially on Think and Respect. The girls also delivered a rousing Supremes medley before the boys came back with the brilliant Show me. However, the set list was dogged by some strange song choices. A Tavares medley seemed to go against the vibe; even though they made some great records it belongs to a totally different genre. This wouldn’t necessarily be a problem, but an hour either side of the interval doesn’t leave much time for padding. So around 15 minutes was wasted and could have focused more on the central theme.
The second half opened with Jailhouse Rock, a nod to the original film and the amazing Funky Nassau; a new addition to the Blues Brothers repertoire that actually fits (hurrah!!). Unlike Blame it on the boogie which stuck out like a sore thumb. Generally, the second half hung together a lot better with songs we typically associate with the show. Shake a tail feather, Gimme some lovin’ and Everybody needs somebody to love were all crackers that got people on their feet. The finale nobody wanted to see arrived with a sparkling Four Tops medley and a fine rendition of Your love keeps lifting me higher. While the set list was occasionally wayward, you would be hard pressed to find a better night out. Let the good times roll!
Booking Link: https://www.thebluesbrothers.co.uk
Booking until: Touring nationwide September 2019-June 2020