Hosting stars of today, yesterday, and tomorrow
As the Westcountry's premier year-round venue, Plymouth Pavilions continues to attract an inspiring mix of touring musical artists from both the UK and across the world – from the hottest new acts and the most respected tribute shows, to true veterans.
2013 is already shaping up well, with four top class tickets that I'm particularly excited about in the midst of a healthy and eclectic line-up that will doubtless keep expanding as the months progress.
It's exciting to see the return of singer, songwriter, rapper, actor and film maker Plan B, aka Ben Drew, on February 12. He was last in the Westcountry headlining at the Eden Sessions 2012 in an incredibly busy and successful year which saw him release iLL Manors, the movie and album, tour the UK festival circuit – headline the 2012 iTunes Festival at London's Roundhouse – and star in a remake of The Sweeney alongside Ray Winstone.
An ambitious artist who keeps developing and growing, he has also build up a great cache of music to share, from multi-platinum selling concept album The Defamation of Strickland Banks and debut Who Needs Actions When You Got Words as well as his most recent LP. His special guests Labrinth and Rudimental are also key rising players in the rich fabric of the British contemporary scene.
When Paloma Faith last performed in Plymouth in 2010, presenting the songs from her sensational debut album Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful?, she thrilled us in a theatrical swirl of scarlet lipstick, crazy head-dresses and impossibly high shoes, heading up a full rock band to deliver a delicious brew of glittery, soulful pop.
She makes a very welcome second visit to the venue on February 15, not as the promising young upstart she was, but as a mature, established artist with, arguably, an even more accomplished second LP, Fall To Grace, showcasing a new versatility and confidence.
I'm also thrilled that Jim Kerr is bringing Simple Minds back to the Pavilions after an 11-year gap – see our cover story interview.
A treat to look forward to in the autumn is the arrival of Bryan Ferry on November 23 as part of his first UK tour since Dylanesque in 2007 – the last time he was on stage in Plymouth. It should be a great night; he's bringing along The Bryan Ferry Orchestra with whom he has just released the highly acclaimed instrumental album The Jazz Age. Bryan promises to deliver a broad selection of solo and Roxy Music numbers chosen to celebrate his 40 years as a singer and songwriter.
But that's jumping ahead a bit. The year's musical action kicks off on January 18 with a warming, retro soul feel in the company of Paul Carrack, singer, songwriter, former frontman of Ace, Squeeze and Mike and The Mechanics and purveyor of such classics as How Long, Tempted and The Living Years.
Junior girl power comes to town on February 11 with 2011 X Factor winners Little Mix on their first UK headline tour.
The nation's tenor Alfie Boe takes to the stage on March 31, and perennial musical star Michael Ball back on teenage home turf in Plymouth on April 29 with the Both Sides Now tour. Leona Lewis cements her status as one of the most successful UK female artists to break across the Atlantic with a show on May 18, performing hits from her two number one albums Spirit and Echo, as well as her latest long player Glassheart.
Nostalgia comes knocking on June 18 with the arrival of British giants The Moody Blues, whose legacy spans four decades of hit-making. Their incredible back catalogue includes the epic Nights In White Satin.
High class tributes and music-based stage shows are destined to tap into the lucrative nostalgia vein in 2013, starting with The Classic Rock Show on February 2.
This band of virtuoso musicians promise to deliver spot-on versions of tracks from key albums by such rock luminaries as The Eagles, Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Dire Straits, Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen and Meat Loaf.
Four days later sees the return of internationally renowned Rumours of Fleetwood Mac, replicating the power, subtlety and hypnotic emotion of Fleetwood Mac's definitive LP in its 35th anniversary year.
The Osmond Brothers, Gareth Gates, big band and soul singer Andy Abraham, pop phenomenon Chico, and Shane Richie Junior take a giant leap back in time for Boogie Nights – The 70s Musical Concert on February 13. It boasts a 70-song Top of the Pops disco and pop playlist like no other – how about Blame It On The Boogie, Shaft, You're My First My Last My Everything, YMCA and Boogie Wonderland for starters? And it also features the hits of Rod Stewart, Elton John and, of course, The Osmonds.
Probably the best loved and respected tribute show in the world is The Australian Pink Floyd Show, coming to the venue on February 21. Their 2013 Eclipsed By The Moon tour will celebrate the iconic The Dark Side Of The Moon album – which has sold 50 million copies worldwide – and such epic songs as The Great Gig In The Sky, Us And Them, Money and Time.
The Plan B, Paloma Faith and Alfie Boe shows are all sold out. Limited single seated tickets remain for Little Mix and Leona Lewis. For all other dates call the box office on 0845 146 1460.