Despite record-breaking sales and virtual beatification in the eyes of her fans, Susan Boyle remains largely untried as a live performer.
Susan Boyle - SECC, Glasgow
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Her emotional fragility is no secret – and is arguably part of her appeal as a singer – so here she was gingerly testing the touring ground on home territory.
Entering to a grand orchestral flourish with a regal wave, she immediately exploded the diva pretensions with a mischievous re-run of her opening exchange with Simon Cowell at that life-changing Britain’s Got Talent audition.
There was an inevitable awkwardness to her stilted moves and scripted links but Boyle was able to have fun at her own expense with some deliberately comical hand-jiving and tush-shaking and even had a poke at the BGT judging panel.
The more intriguing curveball song selections on her albums by acts such as Depeche Mode, Tears For Fears and Lou Reed sadly stayed under wraps in favour of an old-fashioned diet of standards and showtunes, including a couple of duets with Strictly Come Dancing’s Lance Ellington.
Boyle was too buttoned up for the jazzy That Ole Devil Called Love but it was clear from the way she took her time and settled into The Way We Were that she had been singing it her whole life, and the lovely clarity of her voice suited the hopeful innocence of Somewhere Over The Rainbow and the girlish Answer Me.
But the crowd particularly loved the overwrought ballads such as Unchained Melody, As Long As He Needs Me and, of course, I Dreamed A Dream, introduced as “the song that got me into a lot of trouble” and sung with the Royal Conservatoire choir, numbers on which she could really pack an emotional punch with those powerful soaring top notes.