Live: Texas at York Barbican

Texas are no strangers to York having chosen the city to play one of 3 secret gigs at a former working mens club (The Crescent) back in March. That was to promote the then unreleased new album ‘Jump on Board’ but tonight is more a celebration of their whole catalogue.

The main band focus on stage is Sharleen Spiteri, who appears to be ageless, still sporting her suit and trainers outfit and that trademark thick black brushed mop of hair. Ok maybe a few smile lines around the eyes but you are allowed some when you are approaching your 50th birthday!

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Sharleen Spiteri | York Barbican | John Hayhurst for York Calling

Opening with Halo we are up from the off, and Spiteri said “Those seats underneath you, are not required!” Immediately we have a dancefloor near the front and everyone all the way to the back are on their feet. Sharleen is a master at audience interaction and this is a quite tight space to work in, with no barrier between stage and front row– she will frequently go up shake hands – offer out cardboard cups of wine (audience members were celebrating a wedding anniversary) and is quick to join in with any in-between song banter from those daring enough to shout. We get stories that could be worthy of a stand-up comedy show, particularly when she relates to her teenage daughter who has been brought up in London and finds it hard to understand why they don’t have Quinoa in North Wales cafes.

The band are incredibly tight – they should be after decades of playing together, Ally McErlaine’s funky guitar moves are sublime particularly during Let’s Work It Out where we are treated to a bit of Orange Juice’s Rip It Up. It is perhaps surprising how danceable some of these tunes are, and played live the likes of Summer Son and Midnight transform into Radio 2 friendly disco classics, time for those 40 somethings to put that glass of wine down to boogie along.

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Texas | York Barbican | John Hayhurst for York Calling

Two moments of pure class when Spiteri is accompanied by only an acoustic guitar and tambourine to deliver a beautiful stripped back version of In Demand with audience trying their best with the call and response bit. Then she sits at a piano to cover Al Green’s Tired of Being Alone, the vocals are on point and the potty mouthed Glaswegian is back to her soul girl roots.

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Sharleen Spiteri | York Barbican | John Hayhurst for York Calling

Spiteri completely controls this stage, always the centre of attention and even manages a homage to Elvis (in certain light she can bear a striking resemblance) with a crowd pleasing Suspicious Minds. Normally reserved for the encore but as a loud-mouthed punter shouted “Elvis” at her, she decided to play it earlier in the set.

The hits are interspersed with album cuts and it is surprising how many you remember – which is probably testament to their 40 million albums sold and almost 30 years together. A blues laden I Don’t Want A Lover is sublime, Inner Smile becomes a rock classic with its “Yeah..Yeah” chorus prompting a burst of fist pumping in the air, leaving the breathy Say What You Want as the final encore.

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Texas | York Barbican | John Hayhurst for York Calling

Texas have lost none of their passion for playing live and Sharleen Spiteri is a complete entertainer with quick wit, beautiful vocals and tomboy rock chic looks. It’s such a great night out and let’s hope they return to York again soon.

Words and Photos: John Hayhurst