Marti in the mood for a party on Greatest Hits Tour at York Barbican as he celebrates love, life and those we lost along the way

“To say I was enthusiastic is an understatement,” says Marti Pellow as he returns to the concert platform

PULL on your dancing shoes, it’s time to party with Marti, says that Scottish fellow Pellow ahead of his Greatest Hits Tour gig at York Barbican on Tuesday night.

York is one of five additions to the second leg of a post-lockdown itinerary that opened at Scarborough Spa Theatre on November 11 when the former Wet Wet Wet frontman, soulful solo singer and musical theatre star could not wait to re-connect with his devotees.

“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,” said the Clydebank singer at the time.

“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.”

How did those autumn shows go? “Great! To say I was enthusiastic is an understatement and the audiences were so up for it because concert venues were the first places to close for Covid and the last to reopen,” says Marti, whose tour mission statement is to celebrate love, life and those we lost along the way.

The cover artwork for Marti Pellow’s Stargazer album, his homage to his heroes

“Calling it the Greatest Hits Tour was perfect too. As much as I did want to play songs from Stargazer [his March 2021 album written in homage to his heroes], and I did do that, most of the night hangs on being a celebration of getting back together.

“They were all shouting back at me, ‘No Marti, no party!’, as I did all those songs from multiple decades. After we’d navigated that year and a half we’d all been through, the set picked itself, whether I wrote the song, co-wrote it, sang it solo or with Wet Wet Wet, or it was a song I’d covered.”

On the tour’s second leg, that format remains the same; “In the more intimate parts of the show, I like to sit down and reflect, and I have a sophisticated audience so they’ll let me do that, dangling my feet off the edge of the stage and shooting the breeze,” says Marti, now 57.

“I’m forever mixing it up or changing the running order. I like people to be surprised! Maybe in the first song, I’ll look at them, and they’ll be turning their heads to the right thinking, ‘where’s he going here?!’

“It’s purely about reacting on the spot each evening. You’re thinking to yourself, ‘what’s going on with this audience?’. If it’s an attentive, ‘listening’ audience, I’ll squeeze in a few more ballads. Or maybe I’ll do songs that reflect on topics.

“It’s all about escapism,” says Marti Pellow of the joy of performing for musician and audience alike

“It’s about how you set it up, like maybe pulling out a James Taylor Jackson Browne  cover, or sharing a thought with them that they’ll relate to as audiences are storytellers themselves, remembering when they first heard a song or how their daughter always sang this song at the top of her voice in the back of the car.”

Marti has been delighted to find himself playing to such diverse crowds, whether they know him from Wet Wet Wet, his musical theatre performances or those Lockdown Sessions that went viral.

“What I find fascinating is the age range. At one of the shows I did last year, I met an elderly couple who said they were up having a dance, recalling how they first did that to a Wet Wet Wet song in 1987 when they were in their in their early 50s,” says Marti.

“Then I’ll be standing by a 17-year-old kid who says he’s come to the show because he’s seen me on YouTube and loved it.

“I think that’s got to do with me being a singer-songwriter, a storyteller, first catching an age group in their teens, but then you transcend that by doing half a dozen albums with your old band, 15 solo albums, and by being an eclectic artist, like doing songs from Broadway.

“Having that eclectic skill set transcends to the audience, who switch on to me through different media, including doing Kander and Ebb [Chicago] or being in Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers.”

The poster for Marti Pellow’s first gig at York Barbican since his Private Collection Tour in May 2018

Marti does not rest on his laurels. “I like spending some time in Ronnie Scott’s jazz club, where it’s about educating myself, and then applying that to what I do. That might switch on certain parts of the audience that will go on a journey with you,” he says.

“I know my audience through engaging with them, listening to what they say on social media. Like for the Greatest Hits Tour, I listened to them when I asked, ‘what kind of show do you want?’.

“Every day is a school day when I’m performing, and when I look at my audience, what I get back from them far outweighs what I give them.”

Describing the concert experience, Marti says: “It’s monumental, in the way that when you go to church, the power of the music will physically move people. Like with a ballad, where people remember how they fell in love to that song; there’s a shared experience when you’re in the moment and you’re engaging in your stagecraft.

“It’s all about escapism. That’s what it’s about. Whether it’s a three-minute pop song by The Beatles or a beautiful piece by Rachmaninov, it has a beauty to behold.

“If you’re the catalyst for that, seeing all those smiles makes it so worthwhile.”

Marti Pellow: Greatest Hits Tour, York Barbican, May 3, 7.30pm; doors 7pm. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk. 

Marti Pellow talks architecture? Learn more in Two Big Egos In A Small Car episode 78

TWO Big Egos In A Small Car arts podcasters Graham Chalmers and Charles Hutchinson compare notes on their separate interviewing experiences with Marti Pellow, smarty fellow of pop, ahead of his York Barbican greatest hits show on May 3.

Prompted by his Wet Wet Wet exit, Chalmers & Hutch then discuss famous bands’ substitute singers, from Genesis to AC/DC, Black Sabbath to Buzzcocks.

Plus why Kenneth Branagh’s second Agatha Christie revamp, Death On The Nile, bristles with much more than Poirot’s monumental moustache; Harry Sword’s deep dive of a book on drone music, Monolithic Undertow – In search Of Sonic Oblivion… and a Sting in the tail end.

To listen, head to: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1187561/10087660

Marti in the mood to party as he kickstarts Greatest Hits Tour at Scarborough Spa

All smiles: Marti Pellow returns to the concert platform tomorrow night

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.

“It’s all about connection,” says Marti Pellow as he whet, whet, whets his appetite for launching his Greatest Hits Tour tomorrow in Scarborough

“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. Me 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.

Marti Pellow to play York Barbican on 2022 greatest hits, covers and Stargazer tour

“I finally wanted to put together a show that would celebrate all the wonderful music throughout my career,” says Marti Pellow

MARTI Pellow will return to York Barbican next spring in a May 3 show newly added to the 2022 leg of his Greatest Hits Tour.

The former Wet Wet Wet frontman, soulful solo singer and musical theatre star, from Clydebank, Scotland, says: “Get your dancing shoes on – it’s time to party with Marti!

“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 and each one of you has inspired me to make this tour happen this year.”

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,” says Pellow.

“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.”

The poster for Marti Pellow’s Greatest Hits Tour date at York Barbican next spring

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 Pellow. “I think they resonated with everyone so much that I’m looking forward to including some of them in the shows.”

Anything else? “And, of course, not forgetting my new album Stargazer that came out in March [on BMG], where 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,” says Pellow, 56.

Looking forward to next year’s travels, he concludes: “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!”

Pellow last played York Barbican in May 2018 on his Private Collection tour, preceded by his March 2017 appearance on his Mysterious itinerary.

Tickets for May 3 are on sale at yorkbarbican.co.uk. Pellow will open the first leg of his Greatest Hits Tour at Scarborough Spa Theatre on November 9; the second leg will begin at another new addition, Sheffield City Hall, on April 12; Hull New Theatre is already in the diary for April 25. Box office: scarboroughspa.co.uk; sheffieldcityhall.co.uk; hulltheatres.co.uk.