Gig review: Burt Bacharach, Glasgow

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THERE cannot be many 85-year-old songwriters who are limbering up to produce a new musical, as Burt Bacharach is doing with Elvis Costello, but this show – as part of what he likes to call his You Gotta Be Kidding tour – was mainly about looking back over one of the richest catalogues of the 20th century.

Burt Bacharach

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

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It is a canon so stuffed with standards that Bacharach and his band crammed at least a half-dozen classics into an opening medley before coming up for air.

It would have been nice to hear these songs in their entirety but time was of the essence anyway after a delayed start so these arrangements, rendered by three polished vocalists, cut to the crescendo.

One could quibble about their slick delivery – no Dionne Warwick vulnerability here – and the use of synthesized strings, but the songs worked their feelgood charms regardless.

And their spry composer was clearly tickled by the vociferous response they drew from his first Glasgow crowd.

He shrewdly demonstrated his progress as a songwriter with a cute medley of his early candyfloss hits, including Magic Moments, which contrasted with the sophistication of Anyone Who Had A Heart and I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself, performed in their entirety with expert embellishment from his two soulful brass/woodwind players.

Bacharach added his own halting, half-spoken and rather affecting vocal to A House Is Not A Home and Alfie (the song he made Cilla Black sing thirty times to get the perfect take) and there was even an opportunity to singalonga Burt on an encore of Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.

“Will you still love me tomorrow?” he asked in response to repeated declarations of ardour from the floor.

After this heartfelt display, there can be no doubt about the answer.