Joan Armatrading gives intimate performance in Stevenage

PUBLISHED: 12:22 29 October 2014 | UPDATED: 12:26 29 October 2014

Joan Armatrading performed in Stevenage on Thursday

Joan Armatrading performed in Stevenage on Thursday

Archant

Joan Armatrading, one of the best singer-songwriters in the history of British popular music, showcased the full range of her talent at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage.

For her “final major tour”, the 63-year-old took the stage alone on Thursday, accompanying herself on three guitars and piano, while confessing to pre-recorded backing tracks with characteristic integrity.

Inevitably, a few up tempo songs such as Drop The Pilot lacked punch, but the intimacy of her ballads supplied rich compensation.

The touching vulnerability of The Weakness In Me appeared in dramatic counterpoint to the brash self confidence of Me, Myself, I.

The absence of backing musicians exposed her skill as a guitarist, her 12-string filling out her classic Love and Affection with a sumptuous tone.

A slide show illustrating highlights of her long career intensified her relationship with her audience still further.

Despite her claim not to have played piano on stage since 1976, Willow, surely the best song she has ever written, gave this concert a spellbinding conclusion.

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