Beth Hart kicks off her tour in style at Birmingham Symphony Hall

Mike Wood sees LA singer-songwriter bring her new album Fire on the Floor to the UK for the Birmingham Mail.

 

Singer-songwriter Beth Hart has always had a powerful voice, but now it has become something quite remarkable.

 

Hart has the vulnerability of Piaf and the power of Aretha, she can shatter windows… and she can touch hearts.

 

She had a sell-out Symphony Hall crowd eating out of the palm of her hand from the moment the band started playing and we heard her voice breaking into the Billie Holiday number Don’t Explain.

 

“Where is she?” we wondered, looking around. And there she was, walking down the aisle in a sparkling silver dress, shaking hands and even hugging fans.

 

At one point the 44-year-old Californian songstress said: “I want everyone to stand up, put their right hand up to the sky”. And we did. It was an almost mystical experience.

 

By her own admission, she “screwed up” her career in her late 20s, but now she’s back. And how!

 

The Canadian was happy to mix with the crowd during the show.
The American was happy to mix with the crowd during the show. (Photo: Martin Tierney)

She toured with Blues guitar maestro Joe Bonamassa, she wowed Jules Holland’s Hootenanny crowd last New Year’s Eve when she performed Nutbush City Limits with Jeff Beck and on Friday night she kicked off her new UK tour at the iconic Symphony Hall in Birmingham.

 

She told us: “It wasn’t that many years back – about five years ago – we played this place in England that had a pole in front of the stage and there was enough room for about 35 people. And now we’ve come back to play here. How great is that?”

 

Hart belts it out to a packed house.
Hart belts it out to a packed house. (Photo: Martin Tierney)

Older and wiser, she seemed to be enjoying every moment of her 1 hour 45 minute set, whether belting out Nutbush, smouldering on powerful new album title track Fire On The floor, working through her hurt at the way her dad left her mum for his “frickin’ secretary” on Tell Her You Belong To Me or swinging to Jazz Man, also from her new album.

 

And between the songs she told wonderful, moving stories of love and loss.

 

Latest album Fire On The Floor.
Latest album Fire On The Floor.

But some of the most powerful moments of the night came when she was alone on stage with her piano, singing what seems to be fast becoming a US Mother’s Day standard, Mama, This One’s For You, and the heart-breaking Take It Easy On Me.

 

She dedicated songs to Mother Theresa, her late sister (Sister Heroine) and her road manager husband Scott Guetzkow (My California) – which ended in a hug – in an extremely personal performance.

 

She couldn’t quite bring herself to dedicate a song to the new President-elect of the United States, but she left us with the plea to “say a prayer for Trump… and us.”

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