Marc Almond, G Live, Guildford

Marc Almond is not the best singer you’ll ever hear – but what a performer he is!

He’s living proof that personality, charisma and a laser accuracy in choosing the perfect cover version can get you a very long way.

Marc first came into view fronting Soft Cell when they hit the charts way back in 1981 with their version of Gloria Jones’ Tainted Love. Now, his long career as a solo artist has hit the latest in a long line of peaks with new album, Shadows & Reflections, a collection of mostly obscure-ish torch songs from the 1960s.

So, he opens this show with 40 minutes or so from the new record and we get his take on The Herd’s From The Underworld, The Yardbirds’ Still I’m Sad, Bobby Darin’s Not For Me and many more.

Marc is in full 1960s lounge mode backed by an 18-piece band, including strings, brass, drums, guitars, piano, five – yes five! – backing singers (which may excuse the eye-watering ticket prices) and they produce the lush, orchestral sound these songs deserve.

Later in the set of over two hours we get Almond originals like Winter Sun, My Hand Over My Heart and A Kind Of Love as well as additional cover versions (Bowie’s London Boys, Dusty’s I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten, Pitney’s Somethings Gotten hold Of My Heart and more) plus a couple of nods to Soft Cell (Torch, a burst of Tainted Love and an appropriate farewell with Say Hello Wave Goodbye).

Marc is his usual affable self throughout, semi-joking about tributes to himself by the likes of Burt Bacharach and David Bowie and having the good grace to laugh mid-song when he tried and failed to climb onto his leather chair centre stage (“Tight jeans and bad knees is not a good combination” he later joked).

He stopped to drink in the genuine applause at the end and it’s great to see such a star getting true acclaim again.

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