Tuesday, 21 March 2023: Beth Hart with Connor Selby – Brighton Dome.
Beth Hart was back in Brighton on the last night of her UK Tour, with guest Connor Selby. Beth gave us a night to remember! Breathtaking.
Smaller photos can be clicked to enlarge.
Beth Hart, what can I say? This singer blew me away when I last saw her back in Feb 2020, just before the plague lockdowns, I recall her set with love and a load of respect. I had bumped into the late Jeff Beck about 30 mins before he shared the stage with Beth Hart. I have recently topped up my vinyl collection with Beth’s recent release, a tribute to Led Zeppelin. I had heard she included a couple of songs in her set from that album on this latest tour. I have it on now, loud! An orange slice of pure Beth Hart brilliance. Tonight was the last date of her UK tour.
Beth Hart is an American singer, songwriter and musician from Los Angeles, California. She rose to fame with the release of her 1999 single “LA Song (Out of This Town)” from her second album Screamin’ for My Supper. The single was a number one hit in New Zealand, as well as reaching the top 5 of the US Adult Contemporary and Top 10 on the Billboard Adult Top 40 charts.
Subsequent albums namely Seesaw and Live in Amsterdam by Hart and Joe Bonamassa debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Blues Album Chart, a chart she has now topped six times. Hart has had two number 1 singles in Denmark, “As Good as It Gets” and “Learning to Live”, as well a double platinum-selling album, Leave the Light On.
The lights dimmed slightly and the “candles” on stage all flickered in the subdued lighting. A lone guitarist dressed in black took to the stage and slung an acoustic around his neck, Jon Nichols. No fuss he just got to work creating a beautiful rich sound. Smoke filled the stage as he played for a minute or two. All eyes were fixed on the stage watching him play as the band came out to join him, Tom and Bill, and also peering into the darkness to catch the first sight of Beth Hart.
The Band: Jon Nichols: electric and acoustic guitars, Bill Ransom: on drums and percussion, Tom Lilly: bass guitar.
This is where the experience I had gleaned last time came into play. I guessed Beth would appear from the back and she did! I was in the right place this time. Beth moved around the venue smoothly delivering I Love You More Than You Will Ever Know. She glided around the entire lower floor of The Dome, she sang, smiled, said hello, stopped for a selfie or two before she took to the steps leading her onto the stage for the first time. Perfect start!
Beth was dressed in a one-piece sheer, see thru glittering body suit topped off with a pair of black cowboy boots, “Ok, so I love Cher” she declared. Next up Delicious Surprise, after which Beth lay on the floor flat on her back smiling. Two songs in and we are all totally focused on Beth.
The band play their part beautifully, what a quality outfit they are as someone in the crowd shouted “Tom is the best, we love Tom.” Beth sitting at the electric piano then dropped an improve rocker, made up on the spot “Tommy Is The Best” and the band, including Tom on his bass joined in. It proves how Beth can easily put a tune together and deliver it more or less on the spot. The symbiotic relationship she has with her band meant they joined in quickly to put out this little rocker of a tune!
Beth didn’t stop all night as she rocked us, made us smile, made us cry and made us sing. A Beth Hart gig is not only a performance, it’s an experience. She was on her own, or surrounded by her band “stripped back” as they gathered in the middle of the stage for a few numbers including Sugar Shack.
Again, it was really something special I was witnessing tonight as Beth from time to time would sit at her piano or on the edge of the Dome stage and relate tales of her troubled times spanning many years. She told us about those drink battles against addiction and mental illness. This was something unique that Beth does, she talks frankly in such an environment with 100% openness and honesty. I guess that, along with her heady music is what makes Beth such an endearing character and performer.
As shout for husband Scotty was tucked in there as we moved through the set, If I Tell You I Love You, Bad Woman Blues and Good As It Gets were played. I had looked at her previous set lists for this tour and they were all different. We even had a reggae slot with Bang Bang Boom Boom, which provided a totally different vibe which, safe to say, we all enjoyed.
Her astonishing delivery of her material can be heart-rending and at times comes across as vulnerable, Spirit Of God and War In My Mind. That voice of hers can be full of pain and longing. She always seems to engage with her audience and from heartbreakers the ante is upped as she has the audience swaying and singing along, to such songs as Ugliest House On The Block littered with joyful expletives! The band was so darned tight and the sound was pristine in The Dome.
She pours everything into every song. There was real warmth and love for this lady from the crowd in the venue. This was summed up with the most powerful rendition, to the end of an incredible night with a cover of the Eta James classic I’d Rather Go Blind. Beth, you totally owned that one!
After two hours of non-stop performance Beth announced “Hey guys! Lets do Whole Lotta Love, it’s the last night of the tour, we haven’t done it on the tour so lets do this!”. Oh my! What a heart stopper of a rendition, blistering rock and roll guitars and drums all topped off quite magnificently with some soaring vocals! At this point, I actually wondered if Beth needed a microphone. Her output and range is astonishing!
Sometimes the smallest, or indeed the simplest of words, can capture and sum up a performance. For this performance Beth Hart, the word that popped into my head was “WOW”. You wowed us all tonight. I hope you return soon “along with your crazy ass” real soon. It was privilege to spend 2.5 hours in your company Miss Hart.
Beth Hart is on the WWW – right here!
Let’s put a shout out for Connor Selby, tonight’s guest of Beth Hart. Last time I saw Beth her support was Kris Barras putting down an acoustic set. Acoustic support seems to be in vogue at the moment. I guess you can turn them around quickly and also maybe less room on the tour buses and coaches. First off Connor was superb! A smooth accomplished performer of the highest calibre.
A superb choice of guest to start the night. The audience was all pretty much in place as Connor Selby and his friend Joe Anderton stepped out. The two took to the stage to a warm welcome from the Brighton crowd. Last summer, 2022, saw Connor take the stage for BST Hyde Park, London, he shared the bill with Pearl Jam, Stereophonics and Johnny Marr. So the large crowd in The Dome didn’t phase him at all. Connor said hello to us all and explained they would be doing a short set of material including numbers from his latest self-titled album.
A wonderful 30 minutes of stripped back acoustic guitar music. These guys can certainly deliver! Some six songs I think played for us. We were truly treated to great guitar playing with some smooth vocals. He held the attention of the audience as the two of them moved through the set. It was all very slick and enjoyable as quality just shines through from his playing to his smoky soulful voice.
Connor Selby is clearly setting out as terrific blues artist. I always wonder when you see such a performance and talent whether Connor may be back at some time in the future topping his own bill. He closed things with his wonderful track Emily. Nicely done guys! Conner was a perfect opener for Beth Hart, and I look forward to seeing him return as I say maybe headlining his own night.
You can find Connor Selby on FaceBook here!
Thanks to Beth Hart, her band and team. Thanks to Connor Selby and Jon Anderton.
Huge thanks to the fabulous staff and team at The Brighton Dome. You guys are always great, and are there to help everyone enjoy their visit.
Thanks to Noble PR Consultancy Ltd
A shout to Lee of Mascot Label Group and also thanks to Roxanne at Beth Hart management.
All words and pics : Ian Bourn
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