The Corn Exchange, Ipswich hosted the live touring show ‘Luther UK‘, celebrating the music of Luther Vandross. This was more than just a tribute show to the sadly departed singer.
Harry Cambridge, with his fantastic band and backing singers promised to deliver an evening of celebration to keep the memory of Luther Vandross alive sixteen years since his death. They did not disappoint.
The show opened to an almost full house of enthusiastic Luther fans, with ‘Give Me The Reason’.
After so long without being able to attend any live events, the excitement in the auditorium was easy to detect. Mostly couples and small groups of friends, the audience had obviously been delighted to have an opportunity at last to get dressed up and head out for a night of music, songs and dancing.
Harry Cambridge strolled coolly across the stage in a smart glitter embroidered jacket, his backing singers, who he later introduced to us as ‘The Trio of Goodness’ wore co-ordinating outfits. Gemma and Holly dazzled in tight fitting sequined dresses with almost mermaid like fish tails, reminiscent of something Diana Ross would have worn on stage. Ryan, who Harry joked at being the ‘eye-candy’ backing singer also sparkled in a matching waistcoat.
Harry engaged the audience between every number with chat, humour and an insight to the songs. He was charming and witty and had everyone laughing at his interaction with audience members.
He told us that we were split into two types of fans in the audience, the ‘three-songers’ – those like me who had come along, only really knowing three of Luther’s hits, and the ‘hardcore’ fans who would be expecting songs from deep into Luther’s long and wide repertoire. Both sets of fans were amply catered for.
We were already swaying in our seats and tapping our toes by the second number, the 1987 hit ‘I Really Didn’t Mean it’. Encouraged by Harry, most of the audience were soon up on their feet dancing to all the up tempo numbers. It was also lovely to see couples dancing in each others’ arms to the ‘smoochy’ songs, no doubt bringing back memories of nightclubs and parties from the 80’s.
Playing two one hour long sets with a twenty minute interval (which Harry and the band surely needed grab a break from the heat of the auditorium), we were treated to a mixture of love songs, soulful ballads, duets, and dance hits.
The audience were having so much fun that the dancing continued during the interval to the house music which continued with the party atmosphere.
Gemma and Holly both performed a duet with Harry. The fantastic quality of all the singers voices continued throughout the show, displaying their range and intense love of the songs they were singing.
Towards the end of the second set, Harry introduced us to the talented musicians in the backing band, lead and bass guitarists, drummer and keyboard player, some of whom looked too young to be able to remember the man whose music they were reproducing with such accuracy and professionalism.
All too soon we were at the finale, starting with the popular hit ‘Never Too Much’, pausing the music briefly to take a photo of the audience for their social media pages, and concluding with surprisingly the McFadden and Whitehead song ‘Ain’t No Stopping Us Now’.
Following much appreciative applause and cheering, we filed out of the Corn Exchange, many no doubt hoping that there would be no stopping us now from finding somewhere to continue with the dancing and party atmosphere.