After a stint across the pond Rachel Tucker has finally returned to British shores with two wonderful concerts at the St James Theatre on April 19th to welcome her back!
One of the last times I saw Rachel Tucker before she left for America was at her previous concert at the St James Theatre so I was thrilled to see she’d picked the same venue for her returning concert. It’s a great space for concerts because there can be a good sized audience with it still feeling quite intimate.
I attended the evening performance of the two concerts and was completely enthralled from the moment Rachel walked on stage – she truly is an incredible performer.
The versatility in her setlist reflected her range and talent perfectly from cheesy 80’s tracks, to heartbreaking Broadway numbers as well as songs from new musical theatre writers.
A few songs pulled at the heartstrings more than others, such as Anyway from Kerrigan and Lowdermilk, a song that I last heard live at K&L’s London concerts last February (also coincidentally the last time I saw Rachel live) – I really wasn’t expecting this song to be on the set list but was thrilled that it was performed; it’s such a beautiful song. Anything Worth Holding Onto (Scott Alan) was another absolute heartbreaker. Recent Olivier Award winner George Maguire was a guest of hers during the concert, he performed a very energetic rendition of I Feel Good and joined her in a duet also. I’ve been listening to the musical Lift a lot recently which George was the lead role in so it was really interesting to see him in a fun concert environment and how much he adapted his voice to the role in Lift!
Another surprise guest in the concert was Rachel’s sister who had performed with her in the matinee and was received so well Rachel asked her to sing in the evening show too! Her sister jokingly said she’d only agreed to the matinee so she could have a drink but they performed I Know Him So Well from Chess beautifully and received a standing ovation.
The best thing about this concert was the reception that Rachel received from the audience, you could really tell just how excited everyone was for her to be back in London! When you’re as well known in the West End as Rachel is it’s great to see how much of her personality she can still show in her concerts and how much fun she has with it. As well as sharing some personal memories about her mother and dedicating songs to her (Gone Too Soon – another heartbreaker) Rachel put some of her favourite songs into medleys and was loving performing them in such a silly manner.
Rachel’s voice blew everyone away, every song was followed by thunderous applause that lingered long after she finished singing. A highlight of the concert was the surprise Wicked mash-up she pulled out of the bag – I mean we all knew Defying Gravity was an obvious choice in the setlist but when that then shifted into the massive Fiyero line in No Good Deed it felt like everyone had been floored!
Having not been able to make it over to Broadway to see The Last Ship it was great to hear Rachel sing some songs from the show in this concert for those who had missed it – I hope there’s a future for The Last Ship in London! The next venture for Rachel is a play at the Menier Chocolate Factory which you can read all about and book tickets for here, hopefully after that she’ll be treading the boards in a musical again because she has a voice that needs to be heard.
It’s safe to say the powerhouse that is Rachel Tucker is well and truly back!
(All photographs are my own, if you’d like to use them please source credit back to this blog, thank you!)