Review: Brian Kennedy Live at the National Concert Hall (Dublin) 16 June 2010
I have reviewed Brian Kennedy concerts many times and on each occasion have managed to find further superlatives to use in describing just how talented and truly gifted this man is as a performer, songwriter and interpreter of the work of other artists. For a critic he is the worst nightmare as he is simply so talented that trying to find any fault at all is almost impossible. His most recent NCH concert (part of the 2010 tour) again showcased the particular strengths of this great artist and bona fide Irish superstar. I could reach for the keyboard and list out the high points of this latest Brian Kennedy show (the stunning performance of Brown Eyed Girl, the songs from 'Sweetmouth' his lesser known 1991 collaboration with Brian Nevin, his duet with guest Juliet Turner and so on but I am not going to review this years show in the conventional sense.
Instead given that this is the year when he has been given the Meteor lifetime achievement award, I am going to share with you some of the thoughts that ran through my head as I sat in the front row with the hard core fans and listened once again to yet another magical Brian Kennedy performance covering over 20 years of the significant pop music that he has produced.
If you stay around long enough in any Job people become used to you and begin to take you for granted no matter how talented you may be. Brian Kennedy has been entertaining us for over 20 years and yes his fans do take him for granted but that would be a mistake. Entertainers like him are as rare as hen’s teeth and are sent by the angels to show us just how special the human race can be. It is easy to be critical of most entertainers who often have limited gifts as performers but in Brian Kennedy’s case there really is no point in wasting time on criticism, as he is so talented that resistance to his unique talent is futile. Simon Fuller a manager who should know something about talent as he has recently received his own star in the Hollywood walk of fame once said that of all the artists he ever managed, Brian Kennedy was the most talented. He is right, Brian Kennedy is not in the same class as other entertainers, he is in a class all of his own.
Thank You Brian For:
Preserving the concept of stagecraft and performance in British and Irish pop music in the past 20 years.
Adding significantly to that concept with live performances that are astonishing in the manner in which they combine vocal ability, style and grace, extracting emotions from songs that other lesser artists cannot even dream about.
Being inspired by the great performers and show business legends to produce live shows that are always interesting, spectacular, entertaining, magical and brilliant.
Not allowing the occasional sneering of critics to detract you from developing a variety of musical styles which ensures your live shows are always enjoyable and entertaining
Writing, sourcing, recording and promoting a wealth of original material, which ensures you can dip in to a host of interesting songs in live performances.
Preserving and reinvigorating classic older material with your own distinctive vocal style thus ensuring that a host of new younger artists will rediscover these wonderful songs.
Being open about your own life but concentrating mainly on your art thus providing the perfect example of how a true star can maintain a certain distance from his audience to enable us to continue see him as special and unique
Living the life of a true artist so that others can see it can still be done and that art, good music and success can still go hand in hand
Not allowing recording companies to force you to make poor dull uninspiring records for short term gain instead always doing something different and unexpected to ensure that your audience never becomes bored
Enabling us to hear the sound of your beautiful voice that can move grown men and women to tears and using this unique instrument in a restrained and inspiring manner.
Making us feel love and emotion for each other through the lyrics you write and the way you deliver the lyrics of other writers.
Long may you reign supreme as the greatest male entertainer in these Islands.