Music Features Writer
9:02 AM 10th November 2023
The Queen Of The Night- Beverley Knight Reigns In Northern Return
Photos: Graham Clark
When Beverley Knight strode onto the York Barbican stage with an air of confidence and youthfulness, you could be forgiven for thinking that you were witnessing a performer half her age. Knight is celebrating reaching her half century with a new album, The Fifth Chapter
, and the aptly titled 50 Tour.
The uncrowned Queen of British Soul has spent the last few years appearing in stage musicals; next year she returns to appear in Sister Act
in London, but for one night only, York was graced with her enormous talent, voice, and infectious energy.
The diminutive singer has a voice that filled the Barbican instantly. Knight is a natural on stage; faultless and flowing, her set visited her earlier work with Greatest Day
and Made It Black
. “Is it alright if I share some new songs with you?” she asked by way of introducing Systematic Overload
– this and other songs from her new album are some of the best tracks she has recorded.
Dressed all in white, her supporting musicians contrasted well with Knight wearing a black catsuit. Clearly enjoying her time on stage, her infectious enthusiasm was hard not to absorb.
After what seemed to be becoming a marathon jog through her earlier work, a stripped-down section arrived at just the right time with a tribute to her former musical director, Reidy, and an ode to Stephen Lawrence. As her three backing singers joined her at the front of the stage, the moment was an emotional one where you could hear the emotion in her voice.
With an encore of Chaka Khan's I’m Every Woman
, the mood became an uplifting one again.
With a storming rendition of Everything’s Gonna Be Alright
concluding the night, few would have argued with Knight's intent after tonight’s engaging, entertaining, and enthralling concert, where everything had definitely been alright.