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Robby Valentine / Baz Francis http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/78/ae/41/Robby-Valentine-Thumb-16-1458679196.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 22, 2016    
 
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Robby Valentine / Baz Francis - Arts Club, Liverpool (UK) - 12th March 2016

Liverpool's Arts Club played host to Dutch maestro Robby Valentine's debut UK Headlining show, and although he did appear at last year's Rockingham and also has appeared at Queen conventions in the past, this was his first show on these shores under his own name. Expectations were high, certainly from me anyway, as his particular brand of Pomp and Bombast has graced my stereo for some twenty odd years and I was eager to see the great man up close and personal, which in the intimate surroundings of the Arts Club was easy to do.

In front of a small but voracious crowd, Valentine delivered and then some. After a short but nevertheless entertaining set from Magic Eight Balls' Baz Francis, Valentine took to the stage to the strains of the opening track from his excellent 'Bizarro World' album, he followed this up with a storming 'Rock Star' then opted to delve deep into his extensive back catalogue and delight us with such gems as 'No Turning Back', the awesome 'Mega Man', 'The Magic Breeze' and many others.

Of course, Valentine is also known for his love of all things Queen and his set was liberally sprinkled with Queen classics, from the rush of 'Seven Seas Of Rhye' through to the tenderness of 'Save Me' and all points in between.

Ably supported throughout by an excellent set of musicians and the delightful sight of backing singers Maria Catherina and Laura Guldemond, they produced a full fat sound that lends itself to far bigger venues than the Arts Club.

Switching effortlessly between keyboards and guitar, Valentine exuded "Rock Star" from every pore. The fact that someone as gifted as him is not known to a wider audience is one of life's great mysteries; something that has left me scratching my head on occasions as to why he isn't packing out arenas.

The two hour plus set was bought to a triumphant close with the ubiquitous 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and a rousing 'We Are The Champions' and 'We Will Rock You', a stunning tribute to David Bowie with a most beautiful version of 'Life On Mars?', then finally, he closed out by giving us the epic 'Black Rain' and then his biggest hit 'Over And Over Again'.

On this evidence Valentine is one of the best performers I have ever seen, with a real sense of grace and style whilst still packing a real punch. I, for one, am hoping he comes back to the UK very soon; it's a show not to be missed. Do yourself a favour next time he's here and check out the supreme talent that is Robby Valentine.

Malcolm Smith
(photos courtesy of Freddie Van Ter Beek)

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