Annie Lennox in concert on Radio 2
Annie Lennox is one of the blazing stars of the British pop firmament and this tightly controlled yet fiercely emotional concert – recorded live at the Mermaid Theatre in London earlier this month for broadcast on Radio 2 this evening – reminds us why.
Fifty-three-year old Lennox has rarely been seen on stage since her 1980s heyday and is far from prolific, having produced only four solo albums (including her forthcoming Songs of Mass Destruction) and one Eurythmics set in the past 17 years.
But never mind the quantity, feel the depth and richness of her material. Backed for this gig by a sometimes overly restrained session band and the BBC concert orchestra, the sound is almost cinematic. The emphasis falls on Lennox’s fine, clear voice, shifting effortlessly from bluesy holler to fragile falsetto, while two backing vocalists add layers of surprising harmony. Impressive orchestrations re-invigorate the electro-blues stomps of classics such as Here Comes the Rain Again and Sweet Dreams, while a furiously paced version of Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves, with Lennox playing solo on the piano, is raise-the-roof anthemic.
‘Annie Lennox and the BBC Concert Orchestra’ is on BBC Radio 2 from 8pm tonight.