Music Review: The Chicago Blues Brothers, Empire Theatre, Liverpool

Image Source: The Chicago Blues Brothers

Format: Music Show
Genre: Motown
Date: February 2 2019
Location: Empire Theatre, Liverpool

The Chicago Blues Brothers brought to life memories of the cult classic Blues Brothers movie, along with some of the greatest motown songs of all-time, and they did so in brilliant fashion.

The backdrop for the stage provided still and video images of iconic singers, such as Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Aretha Franklin and The Supremes, which nicely set the scene for the American DJ representing Radio Huntsville to announce that Joliet Jake Blues (played by Chris Hindle) had gotten out of jail, and he and his brother Elwood Blues (played by Gareth Davey) were about to take the Blues Brothers on tour once again.

This reads like the opening to a play, but it was simply the introduction to an outstanding evening of live music. The show began with the band and horn section playing a few snippets of some familiar tunes, along with the three Soul Sisters joining The Blues Brothers for Soul Man and Hold On I’m Coming. This was a very enthusiastic singing and dancing section, which was both impressive and infectious.

One great song after another followed, with many classics performed. There were tributes to the likes of Aretha, performed by The Soul Sisters to a highly professional, excellent standard. The brass and horn section were also outstanding during their solo routine, and their dance moves were very eye-catching too! Gareth Davey returned to the stage to perform Minnie The Moocher, and some vintage Stevie Wonder hits closed the first half.

The second half began with the backdrop showing a police car coming over a bridge with the police radio warning that they would put a stop to any partying, and put the boys in jail! Fittingly, the next song was Jailhouse Rock, providing an homage to the famous background of Elvis Presley’s original rendition, only with girls dancing in the outlines of the cells! There were again some great songs performed during part two, covering 70s bands like The Four Tops and The Jackson Five with some fine melodies.

Audience interaction had been a staple of the show all night, but it was during the second half that it really kicked into high gear, with the crowd all encouraged to get up and join with dance moves. The Soul Sisters provided another outstanding performance of some Supremes hits, while Chris and Gareth shone through their agile dancing and comedic timing. At one point, Gareth ran around the theatre to video the dancing attendees for use on their Facebook page, as they all joined in with Blame It On The Boogie.

It appeared that the whole ensemble were enjoying the show as much as the audience were. The atmosphere was fantastic, and this was largely down to not only the vocal skills, but the general banter, charisma and audience control of Hindle and Davey; this production was the perfect showcase of their abilities. They were authentic, enthusiastic and likeable in their roles, as well as being superb singers and great dancers too!

Overall, then, this was a truly great show that I would definitely see again. It was professional and slick, yet at times ad-libbed and relying on the collective energy of the performers and the audience. Every person on stage was excellent, and I would highly recommend this one for a great night out.

Overall Rating: 10/10 – Perfect