REVIEW: Oh what a night! We saw Gareth Gates in Worcester's Frankie Valli show
An exhilarating trip through Frankie Valli’s biggest hits united music fans from different decades – as noughties pop star Gareth Gates charmed the crowd at his Worcester tribute show.
The Pop Idol 2002 runner-up embraced a lively Saturday night audience at the Swan Theatre for ‘The Best of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons’.
From the moment Gates stepped onto the stage there were chants of ‘we love you, Gareth!’ – reminiscent of his chart-topping heyday.
Supported by the high-pitch-perfect ‘Four Seasons’ – Damion Scarcella, Jonathon Bentley, Antony Cottrell and Jordan Donnelly – the dynamic between the five worked well, with the crowd on their feet from the get-go for ‘Oh What a Night’.
The pioneering American group of the 1960s were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after scoring eight number ones in the era of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
And in recent years, Valli’s back catalogue is still packing out theatres thanks to the return of the award-winning musical Jersey Boys.
To portray a story with that magnitude of success at a venue outside of the West End, with a reality tv pop star at the helm, could seem a daunting task – but one that was tackled with impressive energy (and four colourful changes of suits!)
The setlist was crammed with hits including ‘Sherry’, ‘Walk Like A Man’, ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’, ‘My Eyes Adored You’ and ‘Bye Bye Baby’.
Gates’ made-for-pop voice is still as endearing 20 years on, as you could tell he genuinely appreciated the support from the crowd after performing a beautiful solo of ‘Earth Angel’ – most recognised from Back to the Future.
Then there was foot-stomping melodies of Motown, Grease and Beach Boys hits – with the impressive high falsetto notes hit with ease by Scarcella.
One of the highlights of the night was a touching duet of 'Fallen Angel' – written by Valli in memory of his two daughters – followed by ‘Unchained Melody’ performed by Gates 21 years after his version went to number one.
“Worcester, you have been wonderful,” he says, while being pulled into the crowd for hugs and selfies.
This emotive show of timeless classics was performed with joy and vulnerability and proved that these hits could still excite a crowd 50 years on – and no doubt win the approval of Mr Valli himself, too.