Live Reviews

  Bobby McFerrin live at Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow

"Don't worry be happy", there you go, glad that is it out of the way! Yes, Mr McFerrin wrote that award winning feel good ditty but as I discovered on Monday at the Royal Concert Hall there is a lot more to the New York born singer and conductor. Eight Grammy winning McFerrin is a legend - one of the original beat boxers - and his technique of alternating between normal and falsetto vocals with drum accompaniment created by tapping his chest has to be seen to be believed. You find yourself wanting to take a breath for him.

He nonchalantly strolled onto stage in his usual attire of black t-shirt and jeans with a pair of shoes that seemed to have been polish dodging from the date of purchase. This matters not as he is all about his musical ability. Despite what he does in the terms of vocal exhibitionism it should not be forgotten that he has a fantastic voice with a vast range and completely understands all the mechanics of music.

He had the audience involved in fifty percent of his songs, using them to create bass lines whilst he would sing over them and the highlight of the show was the audience singing Ave Maria over the top of McFerrin's interpretation of the Bach Prelude.
He did not announce any names of his own songs or raps or whatever pigeon hole you would want to put his tracks in so, unless you have any of his albums then it is hard to say which is your favourite one.

McFerrin was joined on stage by Eddi Reader to perform Rabbie Burns' "Ye Jacobites". She really is a fantastic singer and crops up pretty much anywhere in Scotland where there is something musical going down. Versions of "Blackbird" by The Beatles, Charlie Chaplin's " Smile" and "Somewhere over the Rainbow" were soaked up by this very appreciative audience and he invited close to 40 members of the crowd onto stage for backing on yet another track. As well as some "give it a go singers" joining him for a duet on a song of their own choice though, judging by their collective quality, my cynical side makes me think they were  convenient "plants".

After an hour of the show, you start to take for granted his prodigious and unique talent with no instrument other than his vocals and amazing breathing technique. Only at one point did we see  instruments when he was joined on stage by a fiddler and accordionist for the strangest jam you are ever likely to hear.

All in all, it was an enjoyable ninety minutes. I was asked by a work colleague how the show went to which my reply was "he was brilliant but not really my cup of tea", to which he asked "how can you say he is brilliant but not your cup of tea?". I said "Well Cristiano Ronaldo can get 1000 at keepy uppy which is brilliant but you wouldn't want to watch it every day would you? But, not to end on a negative note, Bobby McFerrin is a true genius in a day and age when the word genius is seriously overused.

Review Date: January 18 2010