The concert to which all others are measured against; Jools Holland

What can I say after a night, up at Glasgow, in the company of Jools Holland and his band? Being a fan of Jools Holland as a person and as a musician, I suspected this was going to be a great night. What I didn't bank on, was just how mind blowing it was.

If you live in the UK, then you are no stranger to Jools. His regular, long running, music show on the BBC, "Later with Jools" (now in its 30th series), is a great jumping ground for new and aspiring artists. I wouldn't say he's the grandfather of UK music (largely because he isn't old enough), but definitely the Great Uncle - The man that knows everyone.

His instrument of choice is the piano, and boy can he play it. I challenge anyone not to have a fleeting thought, "i want to learn" after watching just a quick snippet of what he can do. On his tour, he treats the audience with large screen close-ups of his fast paced, finger dancing, keyboard skills.

But you are treated to an experience of music adventure when attending a Jools concert. This is a man that many new artists could learn from. He comes out, no pretense, and leaps straight into some seriously toe-tapping boogie-woogie. After that, he gets up, grabs the mic, and uses the whole stage as he talks to the audience and engages them in proper dialogue. Now we feel we are part of the show, if it sucks, then we've our share of the responsibility to shoulder.

While the music is mostly fast paced boogie-woogie/blues, its done in a jazz format, with each band member coming to the front and owning their little bit of the piece and lime light. The focus of attention is not actually on Jools, infact, for a lot of the numbers, he merely fads into the background, and you forget that its his piano piece that is the platform to which the rest of them are jumping around on.

Jools Holland is renowned for producing CD's stacked full of special guest singers. Anyone who is anyone in the industry has laid down a track with Jools. His concert wasn't about to disappoint on this front either.

We were treated to Ruby Turner (wikipedia) whose voice just took over the hall. (this is Ruby in the YouTube video on this page).

The next surprise guest was Eddi Reader (remember Fairground Attraction? "its got to be perfect"?). She was brilliant. At 48, the woman was just fantastic, and looked like the mad auntie we all wished we could have. It was a joy to listen and watch her.

Then came the real big name of the night, the one and only Lulu. She came out and did a number of pieces. Again, she proved that nothing beats watching an experienced performer. She owned the staged, really working the crowd. Its fair to say, at this point, the front of the house was filled with people up dancing; there was a serious party atmosphere there. The first time I have ever seen that at Glasgow Auditorium.

Naturally, Lulu, performed her signature piece, "Shout" and did not disappoint.

The night continued, with Jools moving between a couple of different pianos, including doing a piece on the guitar. His brother, Chris Holland, was also in his band, and they did a piece together, showing that boogie-woogie was definitely running in the family.

All in all, this is now officially the best concert I have ever been to, just pipping the classic Michael Jackson "Dangerous" tour. When he is next in town, there will be no question of whether we go or not. Its a done deal.


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