- Tracy welcomed with open arms – Review by Peter Bate, expressandstar.com, Mar 17, 2003, 13:32:00
Tracy Chapman, Symphony Hall, Birmingham
It may have been almost 15 years since Tracy Chapman scored her only Top 10 hit but she was welcomed with open arms by a sell-out Birmingham crowd.
The understated US songwriter, nearing the end of her first ever full-blown UK tour, admitted she hadn’t slept much the night before after a 3am fire alarm at her London hotel. Yet, the crowd, warmed up by the lively songs of sparkling support act Jason Mraz had waited a long time for their heroine’s visit and cheered every song.
The biggest applause came for tracks from Chapman’s 10 million-selling eponymous debut LP, including that hit Fast Car and Talkin’ Bout A Revolution.
The slightly-built singer was backed by a honed band that included Stetson-wearing Eels’ drummer Butch. Their subtle shading was a highlight on Baby Can I Hold You – reclaiming the bittersweet poignancy hijacked by Boyzone – and new tracks like Say Hallelujah.
Chapman’s forte remains her deep, rich voice which was complemented perfectly by the Symphony Hall’s excellent acoustics. Singing about racism and criticizing the move to war one minute, and joking about Coronation Street the next, she had an immediate rapport with the crowd who were wooed out of their chairs for a defiant finale cover of Bob Marley’s Get Up, Stand Up.