REPORTER Andrew Trendell went to see Richard Hawley’s homecoming show at Sheffield City Hall on Sunday 23rd September.
Coming home can be an emotionally-loaded experience for us all. But for an artist so intrinsically tied to his city as Richard Hawley, tonight was only ever going to be an utterly electric experience.
Tonight’s show at Sheffield City Hall sold out in just 15 minutes, and the sense of anticipation that hangs in the air is near volatile. The slightest gesture from Hawley sparks off a rapturous response.
Clearly humbled to his very core, Hawley stands proud but comfortable on the City Hall stage – like he’s merely standing among friends in his local.
We’re treated to a tear-jerking cover of Paul Robeson’s Water Boy in memory of his grandfather and a colossal and life-affirming closing of The Ocean before he promises to never stray too far from his roots. As his sound grows ever expansive and his profile soars ever skyward, Hawley shows no signs of changing: “I’m still just a speccy lad from Pitsmoor,” he smiles – “and very proud to be so.”
His final moments on stage say it all. With his hand on his heart he thanks the amorous audience, then with his tongue in his cheek he signs off with a wry “up the owls!”
And that’s our Hawley all over – Standing At The Sky’s Edge with his feet still firmly on the ground.
- To read this review in full head to www.worksopguardian.co.uk