Music review: Burt Bacharach, Kelvingrove Bandstand, Glasgow

At the age of 91, Burt Bacharach is still discovering first time experiences – such as shaking hands with the photographers in the pit at the top of this show. Although the veteran songwriting genius showed his age as he shuffled on stage, he was the picture of relaxed charm as he casually leaned against the piano to chat to the crowd, making friends with everyone in the arena within moments and eliciting an instantaneous singalong to the never more apt What the World Needs Now Is Love.

Burt Bacharach PIC: Zak Hussein/Getty
Burt Bacharach PIC: Zak Hussein/Getty

Burt Bacharach, Kelvingrove Bandstand, Glasgow ****

How could the crowd not respond to such beautiful music in a beautiful setting? And how many other musicians could muster an opening salvo incorporating the evergreen likes of Don’t Make Me Over,Walk On By, I Say A Little Prayer and Always Something There to Remind Me and still have plenty in reserve?

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Along the way, there were entertaining anecdotes about the writing of early “moderate” hit Mexican Divorce by The Drifters and Falling Out of Love where clearly Aretha Franklin knew best.

My Little Red Book was his abortive attempt to write a rock’n’roll song, rescued by west coast legends Love, and reclaimed by Bacharach as a jazzy pop piece.

Political songwriting, it transpired, was also not his forte, though few would argue with the sincere if schmaltzy sentiments of his newer songs, such as Live to See Another Day.

Bacharach’s sophisticated melodies are a challenge for any vocalist –including his three singers, who were an acquired taste. But the songs shone through, and the most moving renditions of all came from Bacharach himself in his halting, half-spoken style. - Fiona Shepherd