music,  theatre

Reviewed – Midnight Train To Georgia

Gladys Knight is one of the greats of modern music. Known as the Empress of Soul, the legendary singer is a 7 times Grammy winner with a back catalogue that is chocked full of classic songs including ‘Midnight Train To Georgia’, ‘Help Me Make It Through The Night’ and my personal favourite ‘The Way We Were’. Now her live performances are being celebrated in a wonderful stage show, ‘Midnight Train To Georgia’ which features a live on stage band and the incredible vocal talents of Hayley Ria Christian. I went to see the show last night at Birmingham’s Alexandra Theatre and enjoyed every single minute, it is a wow, a true must see.

The first part of the show features hit after hit which Hayley performs in inimitable style. She looks amazing – all sequins and spotlights, and her voice actually gives you chills, it is as near to watching the real thing as anything could be. A barnstorming start with ‘Come back and finish what you started’ sets the tone, and this continues with the disco enthused ‘Bourgie Bourgie’. In between songs Hayley chats with the audience, in character as Gladys, with a perfect American accent that never slips, giving you all the feels of a greatest hits concert featuring the lady herself. It is a polished, impeccable, charismatic performance, one which the audience is fully emersed in, and each song is loudly cheered, totally appreciated.

The highlight of the first half is a stunning version of ‘Help me make it through the night’ which is sublime, and Gladys great version of Marvin Gaye’s ‘I heard it through the grapevine.’ Act two starts with the brilliant Bond theme, Licence to Kill, and then moves onto what is described as the covers section, and includes a lovely ‘That’s what friends are for’ and, for me the highlight of the whole show ‘The Way we were‘, which just sends shivers down the spine, it is exquisite. A short interlude for a costume change gives chance for the talented back up singers Jay and Ruby to shine, with a glorious version of Prince’s ‘Purple Rain‘, and then it’s back to Hayley/Gladys, for wall to wall songs, leading of course to the iconic ‘Midnight Train to Georgia’.

This is a fantastic show that sounds incredible, and is wonderfully entertaining. It works for Gladys Knight fans, and those who just love good music in general. I loved it.

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