Claire Hamill – Saltburn Conservative Club, November 2012

We realise that Saltburn is quite a few miles from Hastings. But, seeing as this is a review of a gig by Claire Hamill, we felt that we couldn’t really resist posting it. Especially, as it was sent to us directly by Richard Heywood, the gig reviewer himself, for inclusion on the Pierless Music site.

Thanks to Richard for taking the trouble and effort in both writing this review and for sending it to us

Claire Hamill live at Saltburn Conservative Club:

I first came across Claire Hamill a few years ago. Claire was support to Jon Anderson on his first solo tour, after he had just left my favourite group Yes in 1980.

Before Jon appeared on stage to perform, a beautiful young lady came on stage dressed in a white blouse and black trousers. When she sang she took my breath away with the beauty of her singing. She introduced herself as “Claire Hamill” and I have followed her career ever since.

Fast forward to 17 November 2012 and the Conservative Club in Saltburn, near Middlesborough. A beautiful lady once again enters the stage, dressed in a white blouse and black trousers.

Tonight Claire is joined by her Northern band featuring Al Harrington on Lead Guitar, Gav Bell on Bass and John Drennan on drums.

The show tonight was to a packed hall to promote Claire’s 10th studio album called “The Meeting of the Waters”.

Claire started with ‘Wild Swimming’, the first track from the new CD. A gentle number, given the added boost of the excellent musicians.

The second track played being the title track, “The Meeting of the Waters”. Nerves settling, performing a faithful rendition, Al getting in on the act with some great lead guitar playing.

Claire followed this with an upbeat version of a song from her first album, “One House Standing”, singing a more funky version of “The Man Who Cannot See Tomorrow’s Sunshine”. Again Al came in with a great lead guitar break, complimenting Claire’s voice perfectly.

Then came sad “Charlie Boy” from the new album and possibly one of my favourites from “The Meeting of the Waters”.  It brings tears to my eyes every time I hear this song. Her stunning voice again magnificent.  Did your brother “Ride a Babe”?

Following the “weepy” song, another upbeat song from the new album, “The Lily Field” with Claire getting into her stride and really attacking the song.  Al giving again a great solo to compliment Claire.

Next up, “Let’s Chase The Sun” following a slight hiccup with the sound, a reggae feel, reminds me of the ‘Holiday’ show in the 1970’s on the beeb.

“Change is Gonna Come” followed, highlighting the blues guitar playing of Al and the rest of the band. Claire can sing the blues!

The final song before the interval being “Derry Boy”, again off the new album.  Inspired by Claire’s granny, the song highlights Claire’s ability of bringing all her emotion together in another wonderful song.

Following a short interval for a drink, Claire and the band now really enjoying the evening along with the crowd.  Claire sang another song from her first album, “When I Was a Child”. Again the arrangement was spot on and very upbeat, Claire singing so sweetly.

Claire and the band followed this with another song from “One House Standing”, the very sad “Urge for Going”, again performed immaculately.

Then back to the new album again for “Truth, Beauty and Happiness”. “The Meeting of the Waters” is on the whole an excellent album and can be compared to Claire’s other works as one of her best. “Truth, Beauty and Happiness” is the last track on the new CD, and is possibly my favourite.

This was followed by some crowd participation in “Pour Me Out Onto The Pavement”. Claire enjoyed the audience singing the chorus for her.

Claire then performed “Take Your Breath Away”, the song made famous by Eva Cassidy.  Claire stuck to the original version, with the band in accompaniment.

On “The Meeting of the Waters” is a stripped down cover version of “The Killers” song “Human”.  This is a great song, Claire doing justice to the original.

At full pelt now, Claire launched into “Since You’ve Been Gone” Claire really losing her inhibitions and being very theatrical to the lyrics, brilliant.

Claire finished her set with one of her first and still great songs, “Baseball Blues”

After a short pause, Claire and the band came back for an encore and did possibly the best song of the night “Geronimo’s Cadillac”. The song came to life, fantastic.

I had a brief chat with the band after the show, congratulating them all on an excellent performance.  I learnt that Gav Bell (bass) photographed Claire’s picture on the cover. The shining ball being his son’s bedside lamp!  He told me the photos were taken at Castle Eden. He even admitted to taking the photos on the lowest resolution by mistake.

I have seen Claire several times over the years, however this is the first time I have seen her with a band. This is the finest performance I have ever witnessed by Claire.

During the interval and also at the end of the show, I had a chat with Claire. Not only is she a most amazing singer, Claire is one of the nicest people I have had the pleasure to meet. Claire really does appreciate her fans.

At the end of the day, Claire still “Takes my Breath Away””

Thank you Claire for a wonderful evening, you are the best.

Richard Heywood

Claire Hamill and her band:

Featuring

Al Harrington Guitar and backing vocals

Gav Bell Bass

John Drennan Drums

17 November 2012

Saltburn Conservative Club

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