As this was the first date of his summer solo tour – only the third such trip out on the road under his own name in a long career – there was a sense of uncertainty and excitement as to what form Stereophonics’ singer Kelly Jones’ live set might take.
Kelly Jones, Usher Hall, Edinburgh ****
His usual band have built a huge weight of fan loyalty in the past two-and-a-half decades, giving enough momentum to sell out the Usher Hall. And the set lived up to devotees’ expectations and more.
As it turned out, Jones was surrounded by a new group which lent a subtly more rustic texture to a repertoire which included Stereophonics hits and live rarities, cuts from his 2007 solo album and other cover selections.
Gavin Fitzjohn added horns, Fiona Brice played violin, Cherisse Osei flitted between two drum kits and Jones played guitar; all bar Osei took turns at the piano.Where Stereophonics sets are usually greatest hits processions, Jones was more communicative and more self-reflective here, dwelling on the personal meanings of the Stereos’ rarely played Rainbows & Pots of Gold and Jealousy, and offering up personal favourites like Stevie Nicks’ Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around (with support act The Wind + The Wave) and Kris Kristoffersson’s Help Me Make it Through the Night. There’s no suggestion this is a permanent new direction; Stereophonics have their own dates next month, and the reaction that greeted an encore filled with fan favourites like Traffic, Maybe Tomorrow and Dakota emphasised the continued enthusiasm for them. - David Pollock