November 20 saw the final performance for the month long ‘Ride Again’ tour, headlined by Shakespears Sister. The group returned to its most recognisable membership of Siobhan Fahey and Marcella Detroit, when the pair reunited last year after a 25 year break. Since then they have released the compilation album ‘Singles Party’ in July this year, followed by the ‘Ride Again’ EP in October, their first original material since the split.
Opening for a big name group is daunting, but Delena, a UK based singer originally from Ukraine, took it all in her stride as she performed ahead of Shakespears Sister at Brighton’s Dome. It was the final show of their Ride Again tour, and by all accounts Delena had put on an incredible show every night of the month long run.
Starting out with ‘Animal’, her biggest hit to date, Delena had the opportunity to show off her vocal prowess, and giving the audience a clear indication as to why she’d been selected for the tour. Following on with ‘Holy Ground’, a much slower paced track, Delena was humble and gratefully thanked the audience who had come in early to see her performance.
A powerful voice whose range could possibly challenge the exquisite Marcella Detroit, Delena’s low notes are very low, such as in her song, ‘Cigarettes’, and her highs are very high indeed. Realising her set was filled with quite sombre songs, Delena said she would take a break to sing some that were not so sad; ‘Feel The Rhythm’ was more uptempo, with a Bossa Nova vibe, and she showed off yet another string to her already filled bow of talents, by demonstrating a very impressive “mouth trombone”. Finishing with final song, ‘I Need You Tonight’, Delena ensured those of us who had come in to see her show were not disappointed.
Shakespears Sister took to the stage after taking a humorous dig at their feud by way of screening clips of classic Hollywood films showing people yelling at each other and saying how much they despise one another. Thankfully it didn’t take long to realise that any animosity between Marcy and Siobhan was well and truly under the bridge, as the pair explained it had been a wonderful tour, and all their respective families were present for the final show. Opening with ‘Goodbye Cruel World’ they wasted no time letting the audience know what they were in for. Siobhan spent almost as much time in the audience itself as she did on stage, as the pair and their band, which included Clare Kenny on bass, who, it was pointed out, was one of their original band members, led us through an incredible 17 tracks, as well as two encores.
Dashing all over their extensive back catalogue, as well as treating us to some of their more recent songs, such as ‘All The Queen’s Horses’, their first release from this new SS era, Marcy and Siobhan kept us firmly held in the palms of their respective hands, which at times were joined together, showing complete harmony between the pair. The very guitar focused set – both Marcella and Siobhan played, as well as others in the band – was further highlighted by Marcella’s harmonica, in addition to both singers’ incredible vocals.
The connection with the audience was quite overt, the banter was strong; it’s clear there’s a close relationship between the singers and their fans, many of whom had been to every show this tour. Pointing out that although many of their most popular songs were written 30 years ago, they still have relevance today, despite the fact that back then they had different people in their lives, often very strange ones, “like Andre”, a reference to their song, ‘The Trouble With Andre’, which the fans lapped up, singing every word.
The beauty of concerts such as this, where the artists are well known and are able to sell tickets on the legacy of a long back catalogue, is that they attract dedicated fans, who will pretty much support their faves to the death. It must be a comforting thing for the likes of Shakespears Sister to know that there are still those who will loyally defend them after so many years, and to see the beaming faces and hear their hearty voices singing along to every song, must be very encouraging indeed.
Siobhan at one point commented that the pair are very appreciative of getting back together, and that they do write great songs together. As if to prove that point, they then started singing ‘Stay’, which for the first time of the night, rendered the audience absolutely silent, as we all realised how much of a treat this was – to hear this song performed live. There was a section of the crowd who had stood during the entire seated show; for ‘Stay’ every other person joined them, silently savouring the incredible soaring, ethereal highs of Detroit, combined with the guttural, almost growling, lows of Fahey.
Finishing with a two song encore, last song being the exquisite ‘Hello (Turn On Your Radio)’, the pair left the stage, arm in arm, giving every one the hope that it won’t be another quarter century before we see them perform live again.