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Review: Dionne Warwick at Cheltenham Jazz Festival

By thebuzz  |  Posted: May 02, 2013

By Jonathan Whiley

Dionne

Dionne Warwick gave a memorable performance at Cheltenham Jazz Festival

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IS she a diva? Possibly. A classy lady? More than definitely. A legend of the music industry? No question.

Dionne Warwick set the opening night of Cheltenham Jazz Festival alight with a memorable performance at The Big Top in Montpellier Gardens.

If you were there, count yourself lucky. There was an overwhelming and almost surreal sense among the audience that you were in the presence of a true great.

Dionne, the cousin of the late great Whitney Houston, received a rapturous welcome following a very talented set by New York support act John Regen.

If John had warmed up the crowd, Dionne stoked the flames of a roaring fire. She may not be at the zenith of her singing ability, but boy, at the age of 72, can she hold her own.

The voice may have lost the range and sweetness of early years, but it's been replaced by the most delightful soulful and gravelly tone.

Dressed in a two-piece gold outfit flecked with all the glitter and sparkle of a Hollywood star, Dionne promised the animated audience a “delightful evening of song” and invited people to “let it all hang loose.”

Barely a song in and it was clear she wasn't about to break her promise.

Celebrating her 50th year in the music industry, our trip down Dionne's memory lane began with the classic hit Walk On By.

It was clear from the start she wasn't merely turning up to make up the numbers. This darlings, was the business they call 'show'.

It wasn't long until she drew on Burt Bacharach’s songs with renditions of I'll Never Fall in Love just one example of many littered throughout.

Working the stage she provided a performance of I Say A Little Prayer with what she dubbed a '21st century twist'.

After a few wolf whistles and a call of 'I love you Dionne' before the singer responded cooly 'I love you too' she exhibited her well-known love of all things brazilian with a couple of songs that felt very personal to her.

The tempo and audience reaction picked up with the upbeat Heartbreaker and the melodic Do You Know The Way to San Jose? was hot on its heels. Other popular hits followed with cover versions of What The World Needs Now and the closing hit, That's What Friends Are For which she encouraged the audience to get involved with.

They didn’t take much persuasion.

Forget her connection with Whitney for a second. Disregard Dionne’s troubles with news of bankruptcy. The legendary singer was out to show that there are some things money can’t buy.

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