Gig review: Eddi Reader, Kelingrove Bandstand, Glasgow

Eddi Reader. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor
Eddi Reader. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor
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When growing up in Glasgow’s Anderston, the young Eddi Reader used to accompany her dad to the bowling green at Kelvingrove Park, gazing on the bandstand nearby and thinking, “One day I’ll sing there …”

Eddi Reader | Rating: **** | Kelingrove Bandstand, Glasgow

It’s a sweet story, which she undercuts in her dry way by adding, “so that makes this special to me – don’t know about anyone else”.

Having got there at last, Reader makes the most of her night, with her usual cheerful informality turning it into more or less of a house party, doing family impressions (her mum and son are both in the crowd) and rejoicing in her unabashed nationalism. “I love it all,” she beams, “the people and the visitors, the ayes and the naws.”

But between the chat is that startlingly pure voice, soaring across the amphitheatre and growing in power as the night goes on.

Opening with the poignant Dragonflies and a jaunty Find My Love, she’s joined ­later by members of the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and the show really kicks into gear with a brassy, gallus version of A Town Without Pity. The mood shifts again for some of her popular Burns interpretations, before fellow Glaswegian singer Monica Queen is invited on for a few achingly sweet country harmonies.

Everyone’s dancing for ­Perfect, of course, as well as an old, unattributed song about sauciness at the Glasgow ­Barrowlands that really showcases both her humour and local pride. A gentle, romantic Ae Fond Kiss ­provides a ­quiet finale.