Dionne Warwick review – old-school legacy show soars and bores

Royal Albert Hall, London
Powering through a medley of potent soul hits and glossy MOR tracks, her voice remains full of sweetness and power – when it’s given the chance

Dionne Warwick has a warning for her audience. “I hope you came prepared for what Dionne has prepared,” she offers, before singing a note. “You’re going to be sitting there a long time.”

She’s right: at 78, her live show lasts nearly two hours, without an interval. Initially, at least, you’re gripped by the fear that however long it is, it might be entirely taken up with her opening monologue, which goes on and on like the Yangtze, while a pianist plays gentle chords beneath it. Eventually, however, the chords coalesce into an introductory song that appears to have been specially written for her, thanking her fans for buying her records and gently alluding to the turbulence of her more recent past: after years of financial mismanagement, she was declared bankrupt in 2013. Still, the song avers, things are back on an even keel: “Life’s not all Chantilly lace and satin,” she sings, “but, because of you, I’ve got friends at Chase Manhattan”.

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