Fairly or not, Gail Ann Dorsey is known mostly for being David Bowie’s bass player for the last decade or so. Whilst having that gig (and a highly impressive CV including The The and Tears For Fears) is undoubtedly an indictor of quite some talent, her one-woman live shows provide a better platform for all to see why she’s held in such high regard by so many peers. Armed only with guitar and mic, the acoustically brilliant Barbican is also the perfect venue for such a performance. It’s fair to say we were given a good one.
The set heavily leaned on material from new CD (sorry, album – Gail Ann quite rightly prefers the traditional term) ‘I Used To Be…’. With funky track ‘The Fool’ an outstanding example of an exquisite and versatile vocal backed by far more than just accomplished guitar work, it was instantly apparent that Gail Ann Dorsey can perform, and in a manner way beyond her latest studio production suggests. Barefoot and beautiful, her vocals took us on a trip down the memory lane where talent surpassed homogenous aesthetic – thirty years ago she’d have been a chart star.
The crying shame is that we only got what seemed like mere minutes during a support set which quickly won over the healthy crowd who’d paid to see Ani Di Franco. “You’re in for one hell of a good show.” Gail Ann told us, referring to the impending headline act. “We’re already getting one!” came a cry from the back. Everyone agreed wholeheartedly. She seemed genuinely moved. Finishing off with a punchy and soulful ‘Ziggy Stardust’ (her “day job”) a touched and happy audience were full of applause and appreciation for a gem of a set.