MTAS were very happy to be invited to Rachel Tucker’s Live Concert at the Shoreditch Town Hall, here’s what MTAS guest Blogger Ceri Davies thoughts on the show!
After a very successful UK tour culminating with several nights at Live at Zédel in London, Rachel Tucker was back for one night only at Shoreditch Town Hall on the 17th November 2017.
As the marvellous 8 piece band got into place and the lights dimmed you could feel the anticipation in the room. Suddenly in bursts Rachel through the side door with her two backing singers/dancers for the night playfully squealing behind her for her upbeat rendition of Cole Porter’s ‘Miss Otis Regrets’, performed whilst racing through the audience and ending on stage for an energetic dance break.
From Songbook Standards (although often with a twist) to Tina Turner and everything in between, this concert had everything. She also shared some stories about her life with us, but rather than just being fillers like with some other artists, all of them lead into the perfect song for that story. We got to hear about her singing in the Market in Belfast as a child when she went with her mother and how she came home with a cute little chair (which she’d brought with her to the concert) which became a seat for her favourite stuffed toy ‘Rosie the Rabbit’, and how as an adult she found the chair in her mum’s garage and wondered whatever happened to Rosie. This led beautifully into ‘When She Loved Me’ from Toy Story. We also heard about the first time she saw The Wizard of Oz, with the piano underneath gradually becoming recognisable as the opening of ‘Over The Rainbow’ followed by a beautiful version of the song with just Rachel and the Piano. This was the jam in a lovely Judy Garland Sandwich surrounded by ‘Get Happy’ and ‘The Man That Got Away’.
The relationship between her and her MD Kris Rawlinson was a joy to watch, you can see that they are really good friends and joked around with each other a lot. When leading into ‘Right Hand Man’ from Something Rotten she was trying to show how much he needs her, with his reply being ‘You’re just the singer’! She sang an original track called ‘Falling’ which was almost an accidental collaboration with him using a song she composed for her music GCSE (she got a B by the way) and a new arrangement of ‘No Good Deed’ which they arranged together after her Husband locked them in a room until they came up with something as he really wanted her to record a version of the song, and I’m very glad he did!
Dear Evan Hansen got two nods in the first half with ‘Waving Through A Window’ and then ‘You Will Be Found’ closing the half a little later. She was joined in the latter by 50 children from the Stagebox Musical Theatre Choir who had appeared down the aisles during her rendition of ‘Children Will Listen’ just before. We were treated to another performance by the choir in the second half when they joined Rachel onstage for an unusual but beautiful version of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’.
The special guest for tonight was Emma Hatton who was a vision in an Emerald dress. With Kerry Ellis in the audience Rachel joked that they had a coven of Elphaba’s (and with Suzie Mathers also in attendance we had an extra witch too!) Emma and Rachel performed a swing version of ‘I’m Not That Girl’ as a mash up with ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green’ by Kermit The Frog (trust me, it was a lot better than it sounds and a very clever use of the two songs), and ‘That’s Life’ which showed off their amazing jazz vocals.
On what would have been her Mum’s 70th Birthday (although as she joked she was unsure as to whether she would be watching from above or below), Rachel turned match maker during ‘Where is Love’, wandering through the audience trying to pair people up, showing again her wonderful personality and great sense of humour! Despite being a concert, everything was acted rather than straight sung behind a microphone which was lovely to see.
We were treated to a beautiful acapella rendition of the traditional Irish Folk Song ‘She Moved Through The Fair’. Not everything went to plan though, forgetting to turn her microphone on at the beginning of the second half being one example, but it didn’t let it put her off and even made a joke about it. All was forgiven though when she ended with the song everyone was waiting to hear, the juggernaut that is ‘Defying Gravity’ complete with green lights galore and a well deserved standing ovation. We were rewarded with not one, but two encores. ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ giving a nod to the end of her time in Wicked, and an energy filled Tina Turner medley that got everyone up on their feet dancing and leaving with a massive smile on their faces!