The middle portion of my weekend gigging saw me head over to St Helens for what might be the last time, to see Sari Schorr return to the Citadel a year after she came and wowed an audience best described as ‘selective’, with her incredible voice.
It was announced early in the year that the charity which runs the Citadel, a small but splendid theatre in St Helens town centre, is to close the venue and instead focus on its community theatre productions. The reasons given were depressingly familiar; cuts to its funding meant that they could no longer operate viably in this theatre, where they have been based for the last 30 years. The Citadel will close up in the summer, meanwhile they are still putting on the already booked dates.
As was the case with the gig the previous year, there was no support with the musicians coming on stage around 8pm, followed by Sari Schorr herself. With keyboard player Bob Fridzema on tour with Joanne Shaw Taylor, once again Steve Watts was in charge of the ivories. This time however, the show was performed in one block, as opposed to splitting the set with an interval as was the case last year. It mattered little, since once again the New Yorker gave a stellar vocal performance. Personnel-wise it was the same band as last year save for the keyboardist; guitarist Ash Wilson has become the foil for the singer, his playing was again top quality. This time there was another album to promote so several tracks from ‘Never Say Never’ were performed alongside selected numbers from ‘A Force Of Nature’. Softly-spoken when talking, Schorr’s vocal when the music kicks in is startling – all the soul, and raunch, of a singer who’s lived a life, not someone who’s straight out of music college.
Following the set she was straight out to the merch table for an instant meet and greet, she has got to know a few faces from last year and also from the recent tour supporting King King. Another quality set from a singer who is winning more friends in this country and there’ll be a second chance to see her on this tour when she plays in Chester in April.