KIKI Dee is the musical equivalent of a hardy perennial. Irrespective of age, put her on a stage with a keyboard, microphone and tambourine and she will blossom like a striking anemone.
At The Pheasantry (PizzaExpress Live, Chelsea, London) on Saturday night (December 1), Dee demonstrated this ‘anemone’ effect to perfection as she entranced a packed house with an assortment of 70’s hits, covers and music she has made with her musical companion of the past 24 years, Carmelo Luggeri.
On stage, the pair were in perfect sync. Indeed, this was very much a joint show as Luggeri provided vocal support and demonstrated his mastery of a vast array of guitars and mouth organ. Some of Luggeri’s guitar work was scintillating. Quite sensational.
No Kiki Dee show would be complete without the hits that shot her to fame in the 1970s – and she did not disappoint. A mellow and soulful Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, a tender Amoureuse and a more raucous I’ve Got The Music In Me. She also delivered a soft and gentle version of Loving And Free.
Covers were aplenty, including The Everly Brothers’ Let It Be Me and Frank Sinatra’s A Very Good Year which was given a flamenco twist.
Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me To The End Of Love saw Dee wander off into the audience to dance with a guest while Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus (given a new lease of life by Johnny Cash in the 1990s) was quite magnificent as Luggeri took to the mouth organ.
There were also excellent covers of Harry Manx’s Never The Twain, Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill and Little Feat’s Roll Um Easy.
The music that Dee has made with Luggeri in recent years may be off the radar of some but it is soulful and underpinned by hope. The likes of Sweeter Rain (the opening track of their new live album So.. Here We Are), Everybody Falls, Small Mercies (the duo’s latest composition) and Till We Meet Again. Also, two songs – Amen And Goodbye and She’s Smiling Now – combined as one and Forward Motion, a record that Luggeri said embraces everything Dee stands for (forward looking, forward thinking). All in all a quite wonderful night.
Dee and Luggeri end their current tour with shows in Huntingdon (Hinchingbrooke Arts Centre, December 6) and Ely (The Maltings, December 9). If you are in the near vicinity of either of these two venues on the nights in question, and like your musical anemones, book a ticket. You will not be disappointed.