Belinda Carlisle at The Barbican, York, UK – 24th September 2019

Posted by Bianca on Tuesday Sep 24, 2019 Under 80s, 90s, Pop

Review + Photography by John Hayhurst

Belinda Carlisle delights a York crowd with the whole Runaway Horses album and many other hits including ‘Heaven is a Place on Earth’.

I’m always concerned when 70’s/80’s hitmakers that don’t tour regularly announce an album anniversary local gig, it has all the hallmarks of a car crash concert where you look at the artist before you and don’t actually recognise their former self. Tonight, we all breathed a sigh of relief when Belinda Carlisle entered stage left as a stunning Californian woman, who doesn’t seem to have aged more than 10 years since she released Runaway Horses back in 1989. This is the 30th Year Anniversary tour of that album and the opening 2 songs have already got the middle-seated section up on their feet and punching the air.

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Carlisle is dressed in what can only be described as a lilac pajama styled 2 piece set, there is no flashing of the flesh here, her beauty is much more than skin deep and her voice delivers all the goosebumps and fist pumping actions for the 40/50 somethings gathered in The Barbican. Title track ‘Runaway Horses’ has kicked us off and then ‘(We Want) the Same Thing’ quickly followed, that is a tough double hit song starter to follow, and there is very little time for any on stage banter at the start. She did joke that Bryan Adams sends his love but unfortunately, he can’t be here tonight for the duet on ‘Whatever It Takes’. Her band are more than capable of filling in though and they provide a tight backing and some decent harmonies throughout, the guitarist had to cover George Harrison’s slide guitar work on 2 of the album tracks tonight and Toto’s Steve Lukather on another.

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The voice is clearly intact, still powerful with just that little vibrato tone at the end, it’s as unique as her peter pan looks. The shoes are off and throughout the night she skips on this stage like a floaty barefoot hippy chick, she could give a 70’s Stevie Nicks a run for her money, and several ladies in the audience are trying to replicate her gypsy tambourine skip moves in the aisles.

Album anniversary tours mean that you have to play the tracks that you don’t like as well, the deeper album cuts that are long forgotten in our new hit music streaming world. Carlisle admits she doesn’t like ‘Deep Deep Ocean’ and it wasn’t until they played it live in rehearsal that it became something she enjoyed again. I’m no fan of ‘Vision of You’ either so that double was the time for a quick break.

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The Spanish influences of ‘La Luna’ were great and then one of the more popular songs everywhere except the UK (not sure why?) ‘Summer Rain’ made grown men do some strange dance clapping moves near the front.

I saw Belinda Carlisle on the original Runaway Horses tour in Manchester almost 30 years ago and so tonight had some special significance, none more so than the track ‘Valentine’ as I had written some of the song lyrics on a card that I sent with flowers to my now wife on Valentine’s day. Never imagined I would hear it sung live in my hometown, but a personal highlight of the night and with that we were on the home stretch as ‘Leave a Light On’ and then ‘Live Your Life Be Free’ signalled the end of the first set. At just over an hour it felt a little short changed, but this was quality over quantity and we still actually had another 4 tracks to go.

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Everyone was waiting for the biggest hit and the casual 80’s listener probably only really knows ‘Heaven is a Place on Earth’ but first we get ‘Big Scary Animal’ from the Real album and then a request to “help me with the words to this one”. For an awful moment I thought they were going to do a stripped back version of ‘Heaven’, which would have been a disaster. Thankfully it was only an acoustic introduction to the song as the drumbeat and guitars came in like a tank at the end of it. The whole place on their feet and choruses as big as they get, a powerhouse of 80’s nostalgia ringing through the night. But it wasn’t finished there as we had ‘Shades of Michaelangelo’ the closing track from the album and one that lit the Barbican up with everyone’s mobile phone torch being held high above their heads.

This was proof that these nostalgic trips through albums really work and Belinda Carlisle can still perform at the highest levels as she enters her early sixties. Heaven tonight was a place called York and a sold out Barbican had a great night out.

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SETLIST: Runaway Horses, (We Want) The Same Thing, Whatever It Takes, I Get Weak, Circle in the Sand, Deep Deep Ocean, Vision of You, La Luna, Summer Rain, Mad About You, Valentine, Leave a Light On, Live Your Life Be Free, ENCORE: Big Scary Animal, Heaven is a Place on Earth ENCORE 2: A Woman and a Man, Shades of Michaelangelo.

LISTENING: Runaway Horses album released October 1989

YOUTUBE: Full Concert at Metropolis Studios 2017

Belinda Carlisle

2 Responses to “Belinda Carlisle at The Barbican, York, UK – 24th September 2019”

  1. Alexander Bauer Says:

    I love Belinda and her music

  2. Manuel Says:

    Belinda Carlisle… I Love You !!!!!!!!!!!

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