John Gibson: Burt’s back but looking so fragile

Burt Bacharach
Burt Bacharach
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For the Burt Bacharach disciples who piled into the sell-out Usher Hall on Saturday the raindrops were still falling on their heads. As if baptised by their idol.

First time most of us had seen him in the flesh – one of the truly memorable songsmiths with his late co-composer Hal David. He first came to Edinburgh as Marlene Dietrich’s music director.

The flesh was struggling to stand up to the test of time. Bacharach, we should never forget, is all of 85. The years obviously had taken their toll. He looked fragile. Rising from his piano stool seemingly took an effort and his voice, used sparingly over the two hours, rarely rose above a whisper. The backing musicians and three singers predictably were impeccable.

It looked a valiant effort, altogether stressful to behold, as he delivered the delights from the duo’s contribution to the popular songbook. Attired in a navy blue blazer, matching slacks and what looked like white trainers, he shuffled off stage after countless encores, leaving in his wake The Look of Love, Close to You. Walk on By, Always Something There, Anyone Who Has a Heart etc, etc.

This Bacharach recital left me in two minds, Glad he made it. Sad to hear his parting words: “We’ll do Raindrops one more time, then we’ll walk out of here.”

Instant Paris

There’s no huge chandelier. None of the glitz that goes with the starship Dome. But its open-air Garden Cafe has no need for the artificial light that floods the George Street venue.

You step down into the Garden from Rose Street and it’s a hint of instant Paris, food and drink waiter-ed in from the Dome’s bar and kitchens. Now operating until early September. Opposite the back door of Marks & Spencer. All of which makes business sense.