Eddi Reader review: Energetic singer gives perfect show

Eddi Reader *****Festival TheatreEVEN if Eddi Reader couldn't sing a note to save herself she'd still be a success in the music world. She has an uncanny knack for picking out the cream of the musical community to work with, a talent that also extends to choosing support acts.

Then again, with her exceptional musical lineage, Lucy Wainwright Roche would be hard pressed not to be as good as she is. Not content with writing great songs like Next Best Western and Snare Drum and having the performance ability to pull off a show-stopping version of Bruce Springsteen's Hungry Heart, she'd also inherited her dad's laugh out loud sense of humour too.

Having never heard of her 30 minutes previously, the audience were audibly disappointed when she announced the last song of her set.

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Hopefully, that will mean a return visit from her in the near future.

Slipping onstage in darkness to sing backing vocals during Spring Song in Wainwright Roche's set, Eddi Reader proved she had absolutely no airs or graces. Sauntering back onstage barefoot, fanfared by a Jimmy Shand style tune, she grinned, waved and drawled, "how ye doin'?" before launching into Dragonflies, the first track from her forthcoming album.

Reader may well be the single-most relaxed performer in the history of popular music, but that doesn't mean she takes it easy. Perpetually moving, she dances constantly and spontaneously – there's no cheesy choreography here – and randomly waving her arms around, as though she were conducting herself.

The energy she uses in a single performance could probably power a wee village on the outskirts of her native Glasgow, and she takes obvious delight in the way the music unfolds, from the first song to the last.

All of the trials and tribulations that the music business can lay on the shoulders of performers looked a million miles away as she breezed joyfully through the next few songs.

One of these, New York City, was written by one of her guitarists, John Douglas from the Trashcan Sinatras, and coincidentally, also Reader's life partner ("at the moment", she added cheekily, laughing her head off). In the introduction she said he wrote the song "about anither wuman", but she added, "when I sing it, I'm singing about a big fling I had there with a beautiful looking guy who didnae speak English".

Abandoning the idea of a prearranged set-list, Reader applied her ethereal voice to a variety of new songs like Silent Bells, Love Is The Way and Fallen Twice, and swung gleefully through her classics too. The Moon Is Mine, Patience Of Angels and of course, Perfect, from her Fairground Attraction days, spilled out fresher than the day they were written, to the obvious delight of the audience.

The sense of fun and the amount of sheer love for music of all genres that Reader has, coupled with the craft with which she performs makes her one of Scotland's greatest national treasures and most vibrant natural resources. The only thing wrong with the show was that it had to end sometime.