Amy MacDonald – Symphony Hall, Birmingham


Reviewed by Helen McWilliams

It’s twenty four hours later and I’m still ‘buzzing’ and hunting out my Amy MacDonald albums to continue in the same vein as the night before. This concert undoubtedly deserves the five star rating I’ve awarded it, and I’d be first in the queue to see the lady in question again.

Amy MacDonald is a multi-talented artist with a unique sound and a Celtic flavour to her music which reflects her Glaswegian roots. She entertained a packed house full of fans of various age groups (including small children who seemed to know the songs just as well as their parents did) with a band of musicians who played guitars, keyboards and provided backing vocals to an extraordinarily high standard.

Ben Montague was the support act, another artist of many talents with superb vocals and turning his hand to playing the keyboard and guitar during his set. He was an ideal support act for Amy MacDonald and he played a couple of excellent numbers that are now lodged firmly in my memory, I wish I’d purchased one of the CDs that he was selling in the foyer! You can find more information on Ben Montague via his website

Amy opened her set with ‘4th of July’ from her album ‘Life in a Beautiful Light’ released last year. She wore a dress that sparkled in the varied lighting and dealt very well with the ‘shout outs’ from fans in the audience, it is evident that she is a well loved artist. To listen to her sing live is the same as listening to her albums, she is one of the best live performers I have had the pleasure of watching in a long time. Her voice carries beautifully over the sound of the band and I could hear every word that she sang.

I was delighted that she chose to include ‘L.A.’(from her first album) in the set and the audience were on their feet dancing to ‘Mr Rock & Roll’ and later on, ‘This is the Life’. Indeed ‘This is the Life’ provided the ’moment’ for the fans to take over and sing the lyrics back to Amy – I thought we all sounded pretty good! Throughout the evening I felt that she interacted wonderfully with the fans and I enjoyed hearing her talk about the background behind some of her songs, not at all surprised to learn that Glasgow is at the heart of ‘The Green and the Blue’.

A couple of cover versions popped up and both were amazing, ‘Higher and Higher’ had the audience on their feet dancing yet again and ‘Dancing in the Dark’ (an acoustic version of Bruce Springsteen’s hit) was a good choice for Amy’s vocal ability. It seems that she excels at acoustic tracks and there were many other notable numbers in the set, especially ‘Love Love’ which has moving lyrics and was one of many songs that she performed during the evening that I felt emotionally connected to.

I recommend that you try to catch Amy MacDonald on tour and visit to beg, steal or borrow a ticket. Otherwise why not listen to her albums: ‘This is the Life’, ‘A Curious Thing’ and the afore mentioned ‘Life in a Beautiful Light’.

First published 05.03.13


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