19th FEBRUARY 2006 - ROCK CITY, NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND
|04||Safe In Your Arms|
|06||Heart of Soul|
|09||Comfort of Strangers|
|11||Shadow of a Doubt|
|13||Wish I Never Saw the Sunshine|
|15||Pieces of Sky|
|16||Concrete Sky||Encore 1|
|19||A Place Aside|
|20||Not the Spotlight||Encore 2|
Beth Orton, Rock City
BETH Orton is wearing a dress.
This may not seem particularly strange but according to her this is a honour she has reserved for the 'salubrious' venue that is Rock City.
This is Rock City on a Sunday night with a mature, neck-scarved audience - a stark contrast to the chart-storming, much-hyped Arctic Monkeys who had been on stage two weeks before.
In the week that saw KT Tunstall win the Brit award that Orton picked up six years ago, the question was: is it time for Beth to step gracefully back from the spotlight or can she still hold centre stage?
She starts her set, seemingly with no worries, as she launches uncompromisingly with a medley of new material from the Comfort of Strangers, apparently oblivious to calls for the old favourites such as She Calls Your Name.
The audience's response was polite but muted. Her witticisms were supplemented by such gems from the crowd as offers of phone numbers and compliments about her backside.
New material such as Conceived, Worms and Rectify were well received, and Orton's presence and compelling vocal style were captivating.
However, the spark for the crowd came with the illumination of fairy lights and the arrival of classics such as Stolen Car and I Wish I Never Saw The Sunshine.
Much of this was delivered solely by Orton and her frequently tuned guitar.
She chatted comfortably to Rock City as they witnessed her move from the shadows and into the spotlight in the course of a few songs.
Having had everyone in the palm of her hand, she frustratingly resisted the temptation to wheel out the crowd pleasers as the encore and instead opted for a finale of lesser known tracks.
It was a brave but somewhat disappointing end to a captivating performance.
But at least we had the dress.