Much has been made of Edwyn’s miraculous recovery from two cerebral haemorrhages and a bout of MSRA, and it is true that the fact he is even here to play the show tonight is amazing. Leaving that to one side for a moment, this is a brilliant show by anyone’s standards. Tonight we get a rich and varied selection of tunes from the beginning of Orange Juice, through seven solo albums up to the freshly released Losing Sleep. Edwyn makes his own way on stage after the band take up residence, and they give him a funky backing track to arrive to. And what a band. Paul Cook of the Pistols on drums, long time Morrissey band member Boz Boorer on keys and sax and Andy Hackett of the Rockingbirds on guitar for starters. Pick of the band is lead guitarist Tom Edwards who plays some wicked licks, but in a wonderfully understated way. It’s some achievement to stand out in this line up, as Boorer delivers some delightful teasing sax interludes and Cook looks like he’s having the time of life on drums, and having much more fun than any Pistols reunions.
Edwyn has a book to prompt him of the lyrics, but it’s an entirely natural delivery and the band adds a little beef to some of the more twee OJ numbers. The quality of the songs and show are such that I forget all about A Girl Like You until it kicks in pre-encore. For the start of the encore there is an acoustic interlude which is divine, then the band return with Frankie from the Heartstrings (who were excellent in support earlier) for a storming In Your Eyes from the new album before they deliver my favourite OJ song, Blue Boy, which sounds fantastic. Before the gig I was biased towards Edwyn’s talents and hoping it would go really well for him, while at the same time worried it would all go wrong. I needn’t have fretted; Edwyn has overcome another big challenge and then some.
Originally published in Nightshift