Last night I was privileged to be present at the last of Duke Special’s 5 themed gigs at the Belfast Empire. I must admit that I’ve rarely been to a more playful or enjoyable concert.
Having watched the Duke supporting Divine Comedy some time ago, I knew that live performance brings his wistful songs on the themes of regret, guilt and loss to stunning life. The singer has a delicate touch and good-natured manner which bring fun to these sometimes sombre preoccupations.
Surrounding his wonderful music, with its attendant sadness and humour, on this occasion, was a carnival of entertainment, the whole being presented through the device of a vaudeville show and the result was hugely entertaining, extremely funny and it both captivated and involved an enthusiastic crowd.
We were treated to a charismatic compere, as well as a series of engaging sideshow acts in addition to the music.
Congratulations to Duke Special for producing something beyond the ordinary and putting on a wonderful show, which nevertheless didn’t threaten to overwhelm the music (still the sparkling highlight of the evening) but rather complimented it and left everyone present feeling thoroughly satisfied.