Elaine Paige stepped onstage at the Bridgewater Hall to a rapturous applause last night as she treated Manchester fans to her latest tour Stripped Back. Looking a vision in lilac, Britain’s Queen of musical theatre belted out the tracks of her youth from some of her favourite songwriters including Nilsson and Webb. It was a night full of memories for Paige as she regaled the audience with amusing anecdotes of going on a date with Paul Simon and almost passing out with excitement as she met her idol Paul McCartney.
Featuring hits from the 60s, 70s and 80s such as Carole King’s One Fine Day, Donna Summer’s MacArthur Park and the Beatles’ Yesterday the concert was a step away from what we are used to hearing from the diva and for the first 30 minutes there was hardly a show tune in sight.
Defying her 68 years Paige shimmied through song after song, hitting some huge notes along the way. Despite everything though it all felt a bit flat, what the crowd really wanted to hear was some of her famous hits and it looked like they might be going home disappointed.
Luckily they got their wish as Elaine began to talk about the time she sung the duet I Know Him So Well with Barbara Dickson. There was an excited buzz of anticipation as the band began to play the intro and the audience came alive, mesmerised by her performance. This is where Elaine is truly at home, every note fitting her voice like a glove.
By the end of the show you feel like you have spent over an hour and a half with a friend and it seemed that Paige felt the same. The classy star was humbled at the standing ovation she received and looked like she truly enjoyed her time on the stage.
A few people left before the encore. Big mistake. With her biggest hit Memory from Cats and With One Look from Sunset Boulevard as part of the set list, it’s a moment you don’t want to miss.
Elaine continues her 23 date tour next weekend as she plays Southend Cliffs Pavilion.
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