Paul Carrack, Wyvern Theatre, Swindon

Paul Carrack has a voice that woos the world, so it’s hardly surprising that a full house greeted the man here in Swindon.

In his signature Homburg hat, with a seven-piece band behind him, he truly relished his magical mix of 1980s funk rock, Motown-style soul, blues and 1960s rock ‘n’ roll.

Paul had invited Elliott Morris to open the gig, who coincidently was born in Swindon. He is a fearsome young guitarist, performing a mix of his own compositions and some blues classics from such luminaries as Eric Roche and John Martyn. His mastery of guitar earned him his place on stage and his slap guitar was entertaining as well as skilful. One to watch.

The main set reflected Paul’s showmanship; slick and polished with phenomenal lighting adding real drama to such hits as Tempted, which Paul wrote during his stint with Squeeze. The song was featured in the movie Reality Bites.

Slowing it right down - with just the man and his piano in the spotlight - Paul showed his softer side with Eyes of Blue and a Brenda Lee ballad, Losing You.

His band are all well seasoned musicians, and like Paul, still have that passion and pleasure from playing their instruments. There are two drummers, Dean Dukes and Paul’s son Jack, who also plays box drums in a Tom-Tom style. Some sexy sax sounds emanated from Steve Beighton, giving a 1980s brass soul feel on songs such as Over My Shoulder.

Andy Staves, on lead guitar, brought that blues rock guitar twang into full force, adding some raw energy to the sleek, funky stuff, coming to the fore in the rockier Every Time You Walk In The Room and Love Will Keep Us Alive, which Paul wrote when he was with the Eagles.

Bassist Jeremy Meek did not live up to his name, pounding out some hypnotic rhythms. On keyboards was Paul Copley, who ably tickles the ivories when the main man is on guitar, then creates that synth rock sound when the band leader is on keys.

The Living Years is a tearjerker for anyone who has lost a parent, but it was followed by the rock ‘n’ roll of When My Little Girl Is Smiling to raise the mood.

But for me it was a Bruce Springsteen song which stole the night; If I Should Fall Behind was blues rock at its best, with Paul on harmonica.

The encore of How Long Has This Been Going On attracted a standing ovation, rounding off an explosive night from the singer they rightly call ‘the man with a golden voice’. – Flicky Harrison