Story added:  9:29am Mon Mar 5, 2012
High calibre artists pack the Palace
Saturday 25th February, 2012 - Palace Theatre, Newark
Comedian Mike Harding and singer/songwriter Paul Carrack played to packed houses at the Palace Theatre, Newark, at the weekend, giving a much-needed boost to the venue.

Mike, on his first tour for 15 years, took to the stage on Saturday night and wowed the crowd with his storytelling, poetry and songs.

He told fans a little bit about his life, how he grew up in Crumpsall, Manchester, and what he was like at school.

He said his grandad would take him fishing and tell him funny stories, while his grandmother came out with some funny sayings. He recited one of his humorous poems, called Me And Grandad’s Mates, in his memory, and the wonderful The Man From The Pru, now called The Face On The Bar Room Floor.

He told quite a few comical stories about the Lancashire town of Oswaldtwistle, which had me and the rest of the audience in stitches.

His songs included Take Your Fingers Off It and the delightful tongue-twisting Russian number, Comrade Olga, featuring his wonderful guitar-playing.

The poem, Little Nell Was A Collier’s Daughter, was extremely funny.

Mike even had time to have a rant about The Big Society and how every time people rang any organisation on the telephone they had to press a button for this and another for that.

He became more serious when he sang A Bomber’s Moon, which was written in memory of the father he never met, and others in Bomber Command who died during the second world war.

He ended the night with a lively rendition of The Manchester Rambler, getting everyone to join in the chorus, and the poem, A Pint In A Pub.

Paul Carrack took to the stage on Sunday night with his six-piece band and delighted the crowd with all his hits and more. There was a spectacular light show throughout.

He started his set with the upbeat It Ain’t Over, and then roughed it up a bit with Just A Little Lie. All the hits followed — Tempted, which he sang with Squeeze, The Living Years and Over My Shoulder with Mike And The Mechanics, and How Long with Ace.

All the talented musicians were given their chance to shine, as did Paul on keyboards, guitar and mouth keyboard.

Paul spoke about the new album he was working on and performed the tracks Long Ago and Nothing Without You which were a delight.

He gave melodic versions of Love Will Keep Us Alive, Eyes Of Blue and Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying, before belting out When You Walk In The Room, When My Little Girl Is Smiling and Time To Move On.

The audience sang, clapped and danced along and gave him a standing ovation at the end.

Support came from Tinlin — Rolf and Alex and Paul’s son, Jack — and their music just keeps getting better and better. Their close harmonies excelled in Perdu, Steal and Soldier Blue, while rocking it up for Something On Your Mind and Away For The Weekend. It was nice to see the Palace so full two nights in a row — DAB.
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