Fireworks

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Richard Marx - O2 Academy, London (UK) - 30th April 2013

I've seen many acoustic shows in my time, but there are few people, Danny Vaughn aside, who for well over two hours can hold an audience rapt armed with just an acoustic guitar. Richard Marx is one of them. Of course, it helps when you've got an impressive arsenal of hit singles to delve into, and he wastes no time in dispatching 'Don't Mean Nothing', 'Take This Heart', 'Satisfied' and 'Angelia' to open proceedings.

Richard's piano is used sparingly tonight, the first time being the excellent 'Loved', a fairly new song that surfaced on the Frontiers released 'Inside My Head' collection last year. The recent single 'When You Loved Me' is also a set highlight. We're then treated to a few songs that Marx collaborated on with other artists to great success, and while normally I wouldn't give two hoots for a song by N-Sync ('This I Promise You') or Luther Vandross ('Dance With My Father'), in Richard's hands they turn into something rather special, but I've always loved 'Long Hot Summer', a number penned with Keith Urban. Marx also features a great cover of Katy Perry's 'The One That Got Away' with a recorded string backing, and during one of his own songs, 'Save Me', he is backed by a video montage of his three sons performing the instruments.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Another facet of Richard's charm is his down-to-earth sense of humour when he engages in a little banter with the audience. A couple of people shout out for one of his more obscure numbers, 'Fools Game'. "That was from an album called 'Flesh And Bone'", he recalls, which elicits a cheer, but he responds with "you're just being kind, I bet if I came round to your house it wouldn't be in your collection – I saw the royalty statement!" But he still performs a snippet of the song for them. And for somebody who on the surface appears to be a very strait-laced artist, he also has a bit of a potty-mouth, when recalling the time when MTV coined the phrase 'Unplugged' he administers "that's bullshit, it's acoustic but it's still plugged in – it's like when you're at an airport and they tell you to get on the plane. Fuck you, I'm getting IN the plane!" He then proceeds to unplug his guitar and wander off stage and into the crowd while singing 'Should've Known Better' without any amplification at all, but still sounds amazing – a great moment.

Another run of hit singles that includes the always impressive 'Hazard' and 'Endless Summer Nights' brings the set to a close, but he swiftly returns with another cover, this time it's Peter Gabriel's 'Red Rain'. The seldom heard 'Ready To Fly' is up next, and as it's one of my particular favourites it's a very welcome addition, then the inevitable 'Right Here Waiting' brings a great evening to a close.

Ant Heeks

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