REVIEW: Shakin’ Stevens, O2 Academy

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WALES’ answer to Elvis ambled on stage with his 10-piece band bashing out Robert Palmer’s Bad Case Of Loving You.

Gone was the signature jeans and denim jacket from his ’80s heyday. Instead he wore a more age -ppropriate black suit and tie ito colour coordinate with the band. Stevens still has the voice despite 30 years passing since his first hit and he looks in good nick for 63.

The belting opener was followed by catchy, soulful, original new number Love You Out Loud, complimented by sweet ’60s-style harmonies from three backing girls.

Heyday ’80s hits Marie, Marie and Cry Just A Little Bit soon followed, getting the crowd clapping and some accomplished jivers jiving.

Another great cover, Chuck Berry’s Don’t You Lie To Me, brought a great saxophone solo and some seriously funky keyboards.

The first half ended with a Status Quo-influenced So Long Baby (Goodbye) from the new album, but Shaky knocked out more classic ‘80s hits after the interval, You Drive Me Crazy, Green Door and Hot Dog following in quick succession.

His physical antics may have slowed down, with just a cursory jump and leg wobble in evidence tonight, but his musical taste has matured and expanded to make him a more complete performer. Inevitably This Ole House started the encore before a delighted crowd were treated to Merry Christmas Everyone to finish.