Marti Pellow draws from vast collection of songs at Cambridge Corn Exchange

PUBLISHED: 13:27 28 May 2018 | UPDATED: 13:28 28 May 2018

Marti Pellow at the Cambridge Corn Exchange. Picture: Adrian Peel

Marti Pellow at the Cambridge Corn Exchange. Picture: Adrian Peel

Adrian Peel

Having walked away from Wet Wet Wet for the second time last year, Marti Pellow is flying solo once again

Marti Pellow at the Cambridge Corn Exchange. Picture: Adrian PeelMarti Pellow at the Cambridge Corn Exchange. Picture: Adrian Peel

His Private Collection tour celebrates 30 years in the industry and includes hit singles from his solo career and with Wet Wet Wet.

For a singer whose wonderful voice has lit up the airwaves for so long, the Corn Exchange was nowhere near as packed as I thought it would be – maybe that had something to do with it being the same date (May 26) as the Champions League final?

Anyway, the screams from the female fans present were certainly very loud when the artist came out on stage dressed all in black.

These screams seemed to get even louder when he removed his sparkly black jacket after performing a few tracks. “Imagine if you all did that every time I took my jacket off,” laughed Marti.

Marti Pellow and band take a bow. Picture: Adrian PeelMarti Pellow and band take a bow. Picture: Adrian Peel

Backed by a nine-piece band, the set began brightly with Wet Wet Wet’s Lip Service, but it was a few songs in before more well-known songs from the Scottish hitmakers were played, notably their debut single, Wishing I Was Lucky, and the gorgeous Sweet Surrender.

Sweet Little Mystery featured later, but was reimagined as a slowed-down, jazzier number and was much less catchy as a result.

Songs from Pellow’s impressive solo career were played – notable examples were Mysterious and Close to You – but for me some of them seemed to lack the spark of the more familiar Wet Wet Wet numbers.

These also included With a Little Help from My Friends and Goodnight Girl – on which the crowd sang along full of enthusiasm.

Temptation was another Wet Wet Wet song to appear and it was wonderful. No room for Angel Eyes tonight though, sadly.

A poignant moment came when Marti came and sat down at the front of the stage and recalled his time in rehab in Arizona.

He remembered that those present had to select a song that summed up how they felt, and he chose a James Taylor track, which he then sung brilliantly. A take on a Jackson Browne song was another solid and well-chosen cover.

Ahead of the last tune of the evening, Marti went over to his guitarist and asked, “Do you know the song from Four Weddings and a Funeral?”

The audience cheered and then joined in a sing-a-long of the first verse before that familiar intro to Love Is All Around kicked in.

Although he definitely still has the looks, the talent and the voice, tonight’s gig, while enjoyable, seemed to be lacking that extra special something.

To be honest, I’d rather see Pellow back with the boys in Wet Wet Wet as I truly believe they had – and still have – something very special indeed.

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