Review:  Dylan & Cohen: The Songs Of The Poets with Calli and the Band at the Floral Pavilion.

By Jean Hill

CALLI Hughes and her band, entertained a more than appreciative audience in the Blue Lounge on Friday 9th February 2018. Calli sang to a sell-out audience and was given a standing ovation at the end. The band includes husband Mark, and the celebrated Brian Jones, who thrilled on saxophone. All the musicians are talented, and back-up singers add range.

The Poetry springs from two iconic performers, with a history of song writing that dates back to the Sixties. Calli sings like an angel. She opened with some of Leonard Cohen’s classics: including a great rendition of ‘Hallelujah’. Her voice is something quite special: it combines great technical skill, real warmth, and measures emotional depth. My own personal favourite was: ‘Dance Me to the End of Love’. I went home and listened to Leonard Cohen’s version. That is the impact of this music. It awakens long dormant memories, and it packs a powerful emotional punch. For me, ‘Suzanne’ was particularly evocative.

Calli returned to the stage to reprise some of Bob Dylan’s classics. ‘Forever young’ was beautiful: the lyrics inspiring. ‘May you build a ladder to the stars, and climb on every rung…’ was a hymn to his children. Dylan was a song writer who mixed politics: ‘Blowing in the Wind’ with the personal ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ and it still all resonates wonderfully. ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ is a sombre take on fame and fortune, allegedly, it refers to Evie Sedgewick, who was famous for a space in Warhol’s Factory, and then sank into a haze of drug addiction, and homelessness. I returned from the concert and re-discovered Joan Baez’s ‘Diamonds and Dust’ about Bob Dylan. Exquisitely written and beautifully sung.

Calli highlighted the plight of those who are homeless: ‘So happy to report that we raised over £400 pounds for Hope Charity for the Homeless with sales of CDs and donations. Bob Dylan’s song ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ has become our anthem’. Attend the next concert if you can. She is quite something.

Calli: Songs of The Poets, Capstone Theatre, Hope University
14th April 2018
Box Office: 0344 800 0410

www.ticketquarter.co.uk