Review: Joan Armatrading earns standing ovation at Chesterfield’s Winding Wheel

Joan Armatrading
Joan Armatrading

Love and affection swamped Joan Armatrading as fans whooped and cheered her appearance on stage in her last major world tour.

A blistering performance at Chesterfield’s Winding Wheel last night (Tuesday, May 26) from one of the greatest female singers of our time was rewarded with a standing ovation from the large crowd.

This special night of music gave Joan’s loyal followers their first chance in 42 years to see her performing solo in a concert which mirrored one of her greatest hits Me Myself I.

Joan’s mesmerising voice and awesome prowess on guitar and piano held the audience spellbound for 90 minutes. In a supreme display of musical versatility, the lady played the blues with passion. shimmied to the reggae-laden Rosie and unleashed rock guitar riffs which thundered through the auditorium.

But the best part of the evening was hearing that distinctive voice ringing out, as rich as molasses in one song, as sweet as honey in another. Back-catalogue favourites were aired including City Girl, from her first album, and hits such as All The Way From America, Drop the Pilot and Willow, the chorus of the latter being turned over to the audience to sing.

Pre-recorded elements fleshed out the overall sound by adding depth and colour while images of city scapes, open roads and raindrops reflected the tone of her songs.

Halfway through the concert, Joan took a break from singing to share her favourite pictures from the past, including her photoshoot debut outside Ronnie Scott’s in 1975 where she was the first non-jazz person allowed to perform downstairs.

She spoke with pride about appearing on the same bill as Bob Dylan at Blackstocke in 1978, where the 250,000 revellers set a lasting world record for the biggest audience ever at a one-day festival.

This memorable night of exceptional talent and warmth showed why Joan commands such huge respect from her fans and fellow stars. Her position and reputation amongst musical greats is in no danger of plunging Down to Zero.