Marti Pellow’s Greatest Hits Tour – De Montfort Hall, Leicester – Wednesday May 4th 2022
Pics by @pdicko67
Review by Helen Barnes @loving80smusic
‘Good evening, Leicester..’
Thunderous applause followed. A quick name check of ‘DE. MONT. FORT', caused the sell-out crowd – many donning the NO MARTI NO PARTY t-shirts - to erupt once again. ‘It’s just great to hang out with you!’ the Scotsman enthused.
It’s been 4 long years since the former Wet Wet Wet front-man, Marti Pellow, played the East Midlands, but ‘party with Marti’ we certainly did tonight.
There was a palpable feeling of relief from the crowd that after a prolonged enforced absence from seeing Marti live, they knew they were back in a safe, warm comfortable pair of hands and it was to be a fabulous and entertaining evening...
‘Each one of you inspired me to make this tour happen’, he told us, ‘With the beautiful messages I received from you whilst I was singing in my spare bedroom!’ Pellow was referring to the hugely successful Lockdown Sessions he recorded during the peak of the pandemic, which an astonishingly twelve million tuned in to see. ‘Did you like my four-poster?’ he quipped
Rewinding the clocks to 1987, the party started with Wishing I Was Lucky. The crowd on their feet from the word go and that's basically how it stayed for the next hour and a half. Hit after hit, a very sprightly looking Marti Pellow bounded around the stage, skipping, jumping and gesturing, tirelessly. Not surprisingly, there was copious amounts of gyrating, hip wiggling and fairly provocative dancing, which, to be fair, the crowd couldn’t get enough of. That said, the mesmeric 57-year-old only had to flash that famous smile and he got the same reaction. Deafening screams filled the auditorium, much to the bemusement of my ten-year-old son, whom I’d taken along to experience his first ever gig.
The hits kept on coming, Lip Service, Sweet Surrender, Angel Eyes and of course, Love is All Around – the smash hit from the film Four Weddings and a Funeral. The song spent 15 weeks at the top of the UK charts in 1994 before the band eventually poured cold water over it and deleted it (something that was possible back in the day and often resulted in fans going out to buy the album instead!) Apparently the Wets were literally sick of the song and assumed the public were too.
Not the case tonight... ‘Are you ready for a little sing song?’ Marti teased, before stopping us after the first chorus to playfully add ‘Let’s leave it there, I don’t want you to peak too soon!’ Restarting properly with his band this time, the power of those first few bars and the affection still held for the song, - even after all these years, literally enabled Marti to blow the roof off De Montfort Hall. It was breathtaking and so special to be part of it.
There were several requests to have the house lights switched back on during the evening, with Marti stating ‘I just want to see you all!' This did lead us to believe Pellow was genuinely grateful to be back on the road and back feeling the love of his adoring fans.
With 33 singles from his time with Wet Wet Wet, along with 12 solo albums, Pellow certainly had a huge back catalogue to choose from when planning this tour. Finding time to pop in a few covers though too, with charming stories behind them, made it the perfect mix to keep the audience captivated throughout.
Talking with both passion and wit about his childhood, it was these stories that gave an insight in to Pellow’s next tour aptly named, Pellow Talk. Starting this autumn, (many dates have already sold out before THIS tour has even ended!) it will give fans the opportunity to get to know the man himself just that little bit better. ‘It’s much more important to get to know me than just to see the dancing and flashing lights’ he stressed. ‘During Pellow Talk you will hear lots of wee stories from when I was growing up.’
Following Temptation, Sweet Little Mystery and more hits from the past decades, the evening drew to a close with the number one charity single, With a Little Help From My Friends. Marti took the opportunity to say how interacting with fans during lockdown, through his Lockdown Sessions, was equally as rewarding and enjoyable for him...helping him cope during the most difficult of times. It seemed particularly fitting then that he chose to end with this Beatles cover.
Reminding us that its now 20 years that he’s been sober and drug free, after an addiction to heroin which nearly cost him his life in the late 1990s, it’s been a remarkable turnaround for the Scot. Marti Pellow is still at the top of his game, still selling out tours and still enjoying every minute of it. Tonight was a party with Marti that was really was well worth the wait.