Andrea Corr - Salford Lowry Theatre
The last date on a short tour to promote recent covers album Lifelines, tonight finds Andrea Corr playing much smaller rooms than she was accustomed to when The Corrs were in their prime. Despite this, she takes to the stage with no less enthusiasm – and her able six piece band proceed to strike up her version of John Lennon's '#9 Dream'. This is hampered somewhat by a sound mix which renders it leaden - too heavy on the drums, not enough vocal, and stops the show from getting off to a flying start. Thankfully, the sound mix settles down quickly from there and allows the vocals to shine.
Much of the evening is given over to Lifelines material, in which she tackles a surprising range of performers - from the Velvet Underground to Kirsty MacColl. Unfortunately there's little interaction with the audience between songs beyond gratitude for sticking by her and no explanation of why she chose the songs she did or what they mean to her and while her version of the 'Pale Blue Eyes' is enchanting, it's hard not to long for a little context behind their inclusion.
Moving over to the keyboards, she provides one of the evening's surprise highlights - a couple of songs from her debut solo record. Stripped of its skittering beat, 'Shame On You (to keep my love from me)' becomes an affecting anti-war piece. Similarly, 'Hello Boys', benefits hugely from the removal of the synth of the studio version and becomes almost a cabaret number.
There's no such re-invention for the crowd-pleasing Corrs numbers - big hits 'Runaway' and 'Breathless' are played by the book and enthusiastically received by the crowd. Freed by time from the tyranny of being endless plays on daytime radio they emerge sounding fresh and lively, and prompt a previously limp audience into action. Meanwhile, she ticks both the Corrs and covers boxes with a version of Fleetwood Mac's 'Dreams'.
Main set closer, a somewhat rocking version of Donna Summer's 'State Of Independence' is a welcome change of pace and gives the assembled musicians a chance to let loose, while the encore brings a lively version of recent single 'Tinseltown In The Rain' and a brief, touching speech about The Devil and Daniel Johnston leading into an emotional cover of 'Some Things Last A Long Time'.
In summary, Corr's still got a great voice and obvious enthusiasm for performance, and her set is consumately professional and warmly received, but you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd walked into a set by the world's most well drilled cocktail lounge covers band.