Sophie Ellis-Bextor kicks off UK tour in style in Cambridge
The popular singer/songwriter chose the Corn Exchange as the first venue on her UK tour, which is seeing her travel around the country performing her hits with an orchestra.
Sophie premiered her songs with an orchestra in London in October last year and now, following the release of her 'orchestral greatest hits' album, The Song Diaries, in March, she is taking the concept out on the road.
Stating that the concert would be like an "orchestral recital" and "Studio 54", the star revealed how Beyoncé performed her first gig after having a baby at the Coachella festival in the US.
Having given birth to her fifth child in January, she announced, "You're my Coachella, Cambridge!" adding that she wanted a "beautiful place" in which to get the tour under way.
The set began with a sprightly orchestral version of Groovejet (If This Ain't Love) and then went through a selection of tunes from the singer's successful 20-year career. Of particular note were Music Gets the Best of Me, Young Blood and Take Me Home.
Sophie, an engaging and chatty presence on stage, said how much she enjoyed performing with an orchestra - marvelling at how quiet and well-behaved audiences are when watching a large musical ensemble - and looked back at moments throughout her long career, noting that she had played the Corn Exchange before, in 2002.
"I bet you think I don't know their names," she joked, referring to the orchestra. "But I do, all the guys are called Steve and all the girls are called Amy!"
Towards the end, her regular band - which includes husband and member of The Feeling, Richard Jones - joined her and the orchestra on stage to run through the more 'disco' section of the night. "This ain't a recital anymore!" exclaimed Sophie, dancing around energetically in what she herself described as a "swimsuit and nightie".
Classic dancefloor-fillers such as Young Hearts Run Free and Don't Leave Me This Way were interspersed with Sophie's own disco heavy-hitters, which included Get Over You and the ever-popular Murder on the Dancefloor - by which point everyone (as far as I could see) was up and dancing.
An entertaining evening with a likeable performer came to an end not with another hearty foot-stomper, but with Sophie appearing on one of the balconies singing without a microphone and backed by two violins. A nice surprise.
No one can say that Sophie Ellis-Bextor doesn't give 100 per cent and this tour deserves to be a rip-roaring success.