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Roy Harper live review - Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Live Review

Venue: Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Roy Harper returns to the stage

Following his trial and subsequent acquittal of sexual abuse charges in 2015, Roy Harper has faced the unenviable challenge of rebuilding those things tarnished by his court case – among them his reputation, his finances and, it seems, his confidence. As a result, the 75-year-old songwriter appears to be experiencing intense, mixed emotions during tonight’s show.

Despite the Bridgewater Hall’s colossal size and spotlit, cruise-liner interior, the atmosphere is surprisingly intimate. Harper ably fills the space – the searing delivery of I’ll See You Again ringing far stronger than the studio vocal – and he’s aided in this by eight-piece string and brass backing, all of whom look on with practised reverence when not directly employed.

With the brass and strings, we’re given a glimpse of Harper’s full, fiery capability.


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