Dubbed "the man with the golden voice", Paul Carrack more than lived up to that title at Symphony Hall, in Birmingham last night.
A BBC4 documentary christened him "the man with the golden voice", and Paul Carrack more than lived up to that moniker at Symphony Hall, halfway through a 50-date British tour.
A near capacity crowd saw the sharp-suited 62-year-old Sheffield-born singer lead his six-piece band through an evening of smooth originals, choice covers and classic songs from his tenures with Ace, Squeeze and Mike + The Mechanics.
The magic of Carrack's voice is the depth of emotion he brings out in the lyrics, none more so than in the trio of songs he performed which concern the highs and lows of marital infidelity; Ace's How Long ("The first song I ever wrote."), Squeeze's heartbreaking Tempted and the Bobby Bland classic If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don't Want To Be Right).
"I did have to run that past the missus," he joked about the latter.
Carrack showed that not only is he blessed with one of Britain's best soul voices, he is a fine guitarist and keyboard player too. An extended groove-based jam during Better Than Nothing saw him shine in solos on both instruments.
A recent convert to the music of Bruce Springsteen, Carrack performed a faithful version of The Boss's beautiful and tender If I Should Fall Behind and then a heartfelt, self-penned song, That's All That Matters To Me, written for his daughter and about his parental anxieties when she announced she was off to travel around the world.
Of the three songs performed from Carrack's time with Mike + The Mechanics, The Living Years hit the emotional bullseye, while Over My Shoulder proved the perfect singalong encore track to send his Birmingham fans home happy.
But quite why he needed two drummers, with full drumkits, remains a mystery.
Paul Carrack plays Shrewsbury's Theatre Severn on April 13.
By Ian Harvey