The redoubtable PAUL CARRACK has just embarked on his annual UK tour. It began last night (Friday 18 January) at Liverpool’s majestic Philharmonic Hall and ends on 24th March at The Lowry in Salford. Full details @ www.paulcarrack.net

So what to expect at the concerts? Well the Liverpool show set the bar high. Paul offered his usual excellent, slick and crowd-pleasing performance that mixed songs from his latest album ‘These Days’ alongside a welter of old favourites and, naturally, his “signature” songs – ‘Over Your Shoulder’ (saved for the encore), ‘The Living Years’ and ‘How Long’. Gerry and the Pacemakers’ 60s classic ‘Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying’ has now also become a mainstay at Carrack shows and here he delivered the song with the soulful tenderness that it demands. The performance was the more poignant given that the song’s creator (Gerry Marsden) was in the packed audience. Paul considers ‘Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying’ as the perfect pop song and he acknowledged the debt he owes to the whole 60s Mersyebeat thing – a theme he developed during a concert innovation – a short acoustic section. Accompanied by his own guitar, a pared down drum kit and an upright bass, Paul offered intimate versions of five songs including a wonderful take on the Searchers’ ‘When You Walk In The Room’.

The formal set’s rousing closer was the aforementioned Ace song which instantly brought the whole audience to their feet. The two song encore comprised ‘Over Your Shoulder’ and a moving and convincing version of Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On’ – a song just as relevant now as when the Four Top’s Renaldo Benson conceived it back in 1970.

You’ll find a full review of Paul Carrack’s ‘These Days’ in our reviews archive while there’s a full interview with the man in our interviews section.