Kiki Dee understands that she is still fixed in many pop-pickers’ memories wearing a pair of “pink seersucker dungarees” on a certain chart-topping duet with Elton John. But she should more fairly be hailed as one of those all-round pre-punk singers, like Elkie Brooks, who can still turn her tone to a huge variety of material, as she demonstrated here in a suburban bowling club with acoustic accompaniment from her musical sidekick, Carmelo Luggeri.
Kiki Dee & Carmelo Luggeri ****
Woodend Bowling and Tennis Club, Glasgow
Luggeri often sounded like an army of guitarists with his exotic array of alternative tunings, triggered samples, layered loops and sheer technical dexterity. Much of their set, performed over two halves, was taken up with somewhat rarefied material from their years of collaboration even if, inevitably, the greatest enthusiasm was reserved for Dee’s 1970s hits.
That Elton duet Don’t Go Breaking My Heart was reworked as a solo, mellow “John Martyn version” and, across a batch of deconstructed cover versions, they ditched most of the original melody of Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill, brought out the blues in Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus and turned Sinatra’s plaintive It Was A Very Good Year into an intense flamenco.
By this stage, Luggeri had been fortified by a donated stiff whisky which put some fire in his belly, and loosened his tongue during a distended second half.
But come the end of this genial evening, no one would argue with Dee’s signature hit I Got The Music In Me – even when her microphone fell apart mid-rendition.