GET your dancing shoes on, it’s time to party with Marti, says that Pellow fellow ahead of the opening night of the first leg of his Greatest Hits Tour at Scarborough Spa Theatre tomorrow (9/11/2021).
Next spring’s second leg will bring the former Wet Wet Wet frontman, soulful solo singer and musical theatre star to Hull New Theatre on April 25 and York Barbican on May 3.
“Throughout lockdown, I was inundated by beautiful messages from fans, asking me to please organise a tour once we come out of these terrible times. Twelve million people tuned in for the Lockdown Sessions I did and each one of you has inspired me to make this tour happen this year,” says the 56-year-old Scotsman.
Expect both Wet Wet Wet and solo material. “I finally wanted to put together a show that would celebrate all the wonderful music throughout my career and that I – and I know all of you – fell in love with again through the sessions.
“All through lockdown, when I could only communicate with my fans through my social-media platforms, you – the fans – would ask me to sing songs from the beginning of my career right up to the present day.
“It was a joy to get such great feedback from everyone and got me thinking about a greatest hits tour, where we could all enjoy those songs again and where I could enjoy singing them.”
Cover versions are promised too: “During the sessions, I also got to cover songs from other songwriters that were either favourites of mine, or had been suggested by you all,” says Marti. “I think they resonated with everyone so much that I’m looking forward to including some of them in the shows.”
Selections from Marti’s March 2021 album, Stargazer, will feature as well. “I finally got to write the songs that let me pay homage to all my heroes. I can’t wait to sing those songs live for the first time,” he says.
Tomorrow, the wait will be over. “It’s all about connection, all the things we love about live music that were taken away as we navigated the last year and a half in the strangest time that has ever happened to my industry, when we’ve lost friends from the industry that make performers look good: the sound engineers; the tech crews, the riggers,” says Marti.
“I could do certain things to keep myself busy, but though you can prepare for a rainy day, you can’t prepare for a rainy year and a half, and our industry was the first to go into storage and the last to come out.”
Marti’s Lockdown Sessions kept that all-important connection with fans with those 12 million hits. “Incredible! Here’s how it happened. I’m going about my business, and I got this wee email from the guys that run my social media, who sent me a wee message from someone asking if I’d sing a song for a relative who had Covid, so I recorded a song into my phone, hoping she would recover, and the response I got to that song was phenomenal,” he recalls.
The series of recordings ensued. “It worked for me because it wasn’t just ‘digital noise’. It really was a sense of connection, and I got just as much from them as everyone else who watched them did,” says Marti.
“James Taylor sent me an email after I did one of his songs and Annie Lennox wrote me a beautiful message too.
“I sang whatever took my fancy or whatever anyone asked for. My and my musical producer, Grant Mitchell, created the tracks during the daytime, with me recording in the spare bedroom, where there are all these pro-tools going on, and Grant doing all the arrangements, creating the tracks, putting the reverb on.
“You can still see them on Facebook and my YouTube channel, and I also did lots of Q and A stuff, talking about growing up in Clydesdale.”
Now he can look forward to the tour’s opening night, as he enthuses about his fans: “You spoke and I listened. This brand-new Greatest Hits Tour is about finally being able to come together to celebrate love, life, and remember those we may have lost along the way.
“Most of all, it’s about enjoyment and celebrating the here and now. Get your dancing shoes on – it’s time to party with Marti!”
First stop, Scarborough Spa Theatre. “You have to have fish and chips in Scarborough, because we all have so many memories around fish and chips, debating about where you can find the best fish supper,” he says. Any recommendations for Scarborough, let Marti know via his social media.
Marti Pellow: Greatest Hits Tour opens at Scarborough Spa Theatre tomorrow (9/11/2021); box office, scarboroughspa.co.uk. Also: Hull New Theatre, April 25 2022, hulltheatres.co.uk; York Barbican, May 3, yorkbarbican.co.uk.