Live review: Roaming Roots Revue, Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Sun 20 Jan (4 stars)

Live review: Roaming Roots Revue, Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Sun 20 Jan

credit: Gaelle Beri on behalf of Celtic Connections

KT Tunstall, Roddy Hart, The Staves, Phil Campbell, Lomond Campbell, The Sun King Orchestra and more pay tribute to The Beatles' Abbey Road at Celtic Connections

Roddy Hart and the Lonesome Fire have been putting on the Roaming Roots Revue at Celtic Connections since 2013. Each year, guest musicians are brought in for a unique night of collaborations around a chosen theme. This year, they celebrated the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' legendary 11th studio album Abbey Road accompanied not only by KT Tunstall, The Staves, You Tell Me, Phil Campbell and Lomond Campbell, but also by a full orchestra.

The night was split into two halves, the first giving each musical act an opportunity to play a few songs each (sans orchestra), before a thrilling run through of Abbey Road from start to finish. The first half played like an introduction to the kind of popular music that Celtic Connections typically has on its many stages, from the slow-burning folk of Lomond Campbell, to the blues-rock of Phil Campbell and the marquee name pedigree of KT Tunstall. Whilst this half was pleasant, and the constantly changing acts means the show never sagged, it never moved beyond a warm up for the main event.

After a short interval, the orchestra got in place and KT Tunstall led a mammoth sounding 'Come Together'. Often orchestral renditions of popular music can feel unnecessarily ornate, but throughout the orchestra were used only to bring the meticulous production of Abbey Road to life. The show really caught steam during the medley section of Abbey Road's second half, with the guest acts dynamically sharing the stage and the home stretch of 'Carry That Weight/The End' played with fitting bombast.

The show closed with three additional Beatles numbers, including 'A Day in the Life' (an obvious choice perhaps, but fitting use of the orchestra). Although this was a good excuse for the acts to have a bit more fun and felt like a victory lap for an immensely satisfying evening.

Celtic Connections

Glasgow's annual folk, roots, indie, world and traditional music festival celebrates the links between Celtic music and cultures across the globe, featuring ceilidhs, workshops, talks, dancing, art exhibitions, and free events. The 2019 festival hosts the talented likes of Judy Collins, Rhiannon Giddens, Sharon Shannon…

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