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Kee Marcello - Camden Underworld, London (UK) - 12 October 2018

Following support from The Laura Cox Band (straightforward bluesy Rock from France), Kee Marcello opens wisely with 'Ready Or Not' and 'Let The Good Times Rock', two tracks from his 'Out of This World' album, the thirtieth anniversary of which this tour is designed to celebrate. The place is full with people who clearly love this album, hanging on and singing every word. Keyboards, by way of Po Nilsson, are a welcome addition and contribute to the Pomp truly necessary for late-eighties Europe, and while there is a huge contrast between the Europe gig at the Royal Albert Hall and tonight, this evening has the feel of an intimate, low-key VIP performance which makes it feel special.


kee marcello live 2

Despite some initial technical problems, the sound soon settles down and after the flush of nostalgia from the first two Europe songs and 'More than Meets The Eye', Marcello & Co. treat the audience to 'Fix me' with its lovely solo that Marcello plays with lyrical fluidity at the end. In fact, although the Europe songs are far more familiar to the audience, it is notable the performance maintains the big harmonies and big radio sound across the solo material, such as 'Don't Miss You Much' which demonstrates how much Marcello contributed to the Europe sound and that he can still produce great songs in the late eighties vein. We pass seamlessly into 'Girl From Lebanon' in which my abiding memory is of the crowd like choirboys on Christmas cards with their mouths wide open, totally into it all. After a spinning stick drum solo, I find myself in pure delight to experience 'Bumblekee' and am always struck by the ability of Marcello to recall the buzz of a bee within its delightful Classical context.

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At this point, the gig really gets into its stride with a beautiful version of 'Sign Of The Times' and 'Carrie' where the enthusiastic sing-along continues. It is then quite a surprise when an instrumental performance of 'Amazing Grace' appears, which Marcello jokes is really old from the seventeen-eighties, but it is most apt as Marcello plays with amazing grace indeed. As if to avoid the obvious, we then get two deeper Europe cuts in the shape of 'Tower's Callin'' and 'Just The Beginning', during which the blistering guitar continues. It is then time for the home strait with rocking versions of 'Superstitious' (with butterfly keyboards and extracts of 'No Woman No Cry') and 'So Lonely', and as we reach the end of the big solo finish, just three words come to me – "still got it!". The finale is, of course, 'The Final Countdown', which although it comes from a period when Marcello was not in Europe, it still remains the defining song to the extent that its absence would provoke a riot; it is indeed a rousing version which finds the crowd jumping up and down with joy.


kee marcello live 1

If there's one thing that defined this gig it was the hugely atmospheric sound of Kee Marcello's guitar, which coupled with the keyboards delivered the impression of a stadium level act doing a secret small gig. It may not be the Royal Albert Hall, but I was very pleased to see both.

Review and photos by Dawn Osborne

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