There are some singers whose music can prompt waves of nostalgia, depending on when the listener was brought up.
For me, Alison Moyet’s voice will always give me a mental flashback to the late 80s, when I would watch my mother dusting off her vinyl LP of the singer’s music and wait for the star’s unmistakably deep tones to wend their way around the house.
So when I learned Alison was making a long-awaited comeback with a new album and national tour, I made sure that my mum and I were both in the audience at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate.
Whereas some stars of the ‘80s come back with cover songs or recycled, greatest hits albums, Alison has made her return to the music scene with a sound reminiscent of her roots with Yazoo, in electronica, but with a raft of new hits on The Minutes album which are fresh enough to earn radio airplay based on their own quality, not just memories.
There was a bit of a wait for Alison to come on to the stage as, first on, was support act Richard Walters playing acoustic guitar. His music was a gentle but welcome start to the show, with a sound which was individual yet evocative of singers such as David Gray. I think there is still a strong market for these kind of ballads and I’m sure he will go far.
Alison made her first appearance at 9pm, after the interval, and I could feel anticipation growing from members of the audience.
But by the time she reached the stage, all impatience had evaporated as the audience was soon reminded of her brilliance.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Alison’s show. Having interviewed her recently, I know she is rightfully proud of her new album and the hard work she had to put into even getting it released. But I also realised that many people in the audience were probably there because they remembered her from Yazoo or from her early solo hits.
Exploiting the electronic sound to its fullest, Alison cleverly mixed the eras, performing the newer hits such as When I Was Your Girl as well as Yazoo’s Only You and early hits such as Is This Love?
Dressed all in black and accompanied by two musicians and backing vocalists on stage, Alison’s backdrop was some purple lighting, dry ice effects and digital screens showing understated images to reflect the songs. But the entire performance was completely carried by Alison’s beautiful, strong vocals.
I am pleased to say she has lost none of her talent. The deepness of her voice has always reminded me of a cello being played in human form and her tones are still as great today as they ever were.
Although I enjoyed the memories brought back by renditions of Alison’s earlier songs, I also appreciated the progression she has made in her songwriting. As she told me, she once wrote extensively about ‘miserable love.’ Now she writes about long distance cycling and going to the cinema, but with as much flair as ever.
There is a reason Alison’s show in Northampton was sold-out and if anyone is lucky enough to buy a ticket for one of her remaining tour dates, they are guaranteed a great evening of music.