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Kiki Dee And Carmelo Luggeri – Live Music Review

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MOVE over Torvill and Dean, Sonny and Cher, Richard and Linda Thompson. Step forward ‘Kiki and Carmelo’, a duo currently making great music and performing on stage with a zest normally reserved for individuals half their age.

Kiki (Dee), her voice as powerful as it was in the 1970s when she rose to fame with a string of hits. Carmelo (Luggeri), the master of the guitar, loop pedal and a creator of sounds that transport you one moment to Spain, the next to the heart of India. Perfect harmony, brilliant music. And no ice skates.

At Pizza Express Live in London’s Holborn (Thursday March 14), the Kiki-Carmelo axis delivered two wide ranging sets. They embraced Kiki’s hits from the 1970s – Amoureuse, Don’t Go Breaking My Heart and the night’s thrilling finale: I’ve Got The Music in Me.

There were also some sublime covers and a number of excellent songs written by Kiki and Carmelo, drawn from albums Where Rivers Meet and the more recent A Place Where I Can Go.

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As if that wasn’t enough, there were amusing stories along the way (parents reluctant to give up caravan holidays in favour of watching Kiki perform live with Elton John in New York), a little bit of smooching with the audience (one taxi driver’s night was made, that’s for sure) and some astonishing guitar work from Carmelo – sometimes sitting, sometimes standing, sometimes high-kicking. Extraordinary stuff.

A string of exceptional covers were performed – the late great Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me To The End Of Love, Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill, Harry Manx’s Never The Twain, a tender version of the Everly Brothers’ love song Let It Be Me, a thumping Personal Jesus (made famous by Johnny Cash and with Carmelo on harmonica) and Frank Sinatra’s It Was A Very Good Year.

As for their own music, there was opener Sweeter Rain (mellow), new track Small Mercies (an upbeat song about things that make you happy), a combined Amen & Goodbye and She’s Smiling Now (a song that was roundly acclaimed when played last year by Kiki and Carmelo on BBC Four’s Old Grey Whistle Test) and Till We Meet Again (achingly beautiful).

All in all a great night. Like a good port Kiki and Carmelo get better with age. Catch them if you can. Kiki and Carmelo.


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