GLADYS KNIGHT // ROYAL CONCERT HALL, GLASGOW
The Empress of Soul, Gladys Knight, transfixed her audience and left them in awe with a slick performance that celebrated her soul filled roots and her relevance, even amongst more modern styles.
Gladys Knight is class act who has been casting spells over her fans like few can compare to. Now, as she roams through a six-decade long career in a cut-throat industry, her latest tour only emphasises her grace, loving temperament and prowess.
She started to build her acclaim with family band The Pips in the early 1950s. The group went on to become known as Gladys Knight and the Pips as their frontwoman couldn’t help but hold focus with her commanding vocals. Originally, beside Gladys Knight, The Pips consisted of Merald "Bubba" Knight, Brenda Knight and the Knights’ cousins Eleanor and William Guest. However, by 1959, Brenda and Eleanor departed the group and Edward Patten and Langston George slipped into honorary membership.
Their commercial success bloomed when the group signed with Motown Records and, with the company’s powerful feed of heart-filled songs, the fruit of their labour was esteem. They punctuated every soul fans’ record collection in the 1970s and their singles still chill listeners today.
In the dawn of the 90s, the band parted ways and Gladys Knight set to work on the solo career that seemed destined from the starting blocks. She recorded the title track for the 1989 Bond film ‘Licence to Kill’ and when on to release multiple LPs and record with other jaw dropping musical icons including Ray Charles, Dionne Warwick and Patti LaBelle. Despite her 2009 UK Farewell Tour, Knight could not stay quiet and she returned to touring across continents in 2015.
For her latest tour, Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall was a wonderful venue for such an elegant star. A mature audience packed into the comfortable surroundings and there was a relaxed atmosphere. Encounters were friendly and eagerness filled the air.
The night was preheated with the comedy of Paul Tucker. He had playful banter with the arriving crowd and wasn’t shy with audience interaction but he seem to jumped straight out of some over the top, razzle-dazzle gameshow instead suiting to the sincerity of the night to come. Although his act became repetitive quickly, Tucker did spread smiles around the crowd with a fairly conventional routine of gabbing.
When Gladys Knight adorned the stage her expansive smile elevated the room. She addressed her fans with warmth and tenderness, saying ‘You guys look so good, you really do.’ And then, with nothing but grace, she ran through a last-minute sound check. The set was kicked off with the hit ‘I’ve Got to Use My Imagination’ and then slick number ‘Bourgie Bourgie.’
Knight’s first rework of the night was the smooth ‘Save the Overtime (For Me)’ which she wonderfully tied to the Luther Vandross melter ‘Never Too Much.’ She then sung the classic ‘You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me’ and, as if this track was exquisite enough, she intertwined in the modern day, Sam Smith cradle ‘Stay With Me.’ Her vocals have the power to send shivers down her listeners’ spines as if beads of honey.
Knight raised the energy with the funky ‘Come Back and Finish What You Started’ before playing her wonderful James Bond hit and then raising crowd to their feet with her legendary Kris Kristofferson cover ‘Help Me Make it Through the Night.’
Knight embraced the huge talent of her vocal supports and featured duets throughout. James Ingram’s ‘One Hundred Ways’ is performed astonishingly; as was Carole King’s ‘(You Make Me Feel) Like A Natural Woman.’
The set was finish by the sentimental numbers ‘Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)’ and ‘Midnight Train to Georgia.’ The night was filled with love. Not only did it beam from Gladys Knight but it seemed to radiate between the nine musicians that joined her on stage. At 75 years old, Knight looks and sounds breath-taking. As the band came to the front of the stage to close the show with jam, the crowd couldn’t help but express their utter delight at what they had witnessed.
SETLIST: | GLADYS KNIGHT : ROYAL CONCERT HALL, GLASGOW - 01.07.2019
I’ve Got to Use My Imagination
Bourgie Bourgie - (Ashford & Simpson cover)
Save the Overtime (For Me) - (Contains snippet of Never Too Much by Luther Vandross)
Part Time Love - (David Gates cover)
Oh! What a Love I Have Found
You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me - (Jim Weatherly cover) - (Stay With Me by Sam Smith played as coda)
Licence to Kill
Help Me Make It Through the Night - (Kris Kristofferson cover)
Why I Love You - (Major cover)
One Hundred Ways - (James Ingram cover)
If I Were Your Woman
(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman - (Carole King cover)
The Way We Were - (Barbra Streisand cover)
Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to say Goodbye) - (Jim Weatherly cover)
Midnight Train to Georgia - (Jim Weatherly cover)
Outro Jam - (Contains snippet of Rock Steady by Aretha Franklin)