Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Seen on January 27
It happened just as Womack emotionally stripped the first lines of Sam Cooke's A Change is Gonna Come; the artery opened up to the very heart of Celtic Connections. This was music which stretched back to America's civil rights struggle and forward to the post-Britpop, post-hip-hop, hell post-EVERYTHING sonic adventures of Gorillaz, forging anew the link to all the musical traditions which celebrate what makes us human.
If there had been doubts that ill-health and age would have ravaged that voice and drained this soul veteran of energy and power, they were dispelled by the opening number. Across 110th Street was played surprisingly early for such a classic but it delivered its message loud and clear: this was a serious soul band (13-piece) at the top of its game and that precious voice had lost none of its edge or depth.
Here was a voice that still talking of the fight against injustice as articulately as it celebrates the conflict between the carnal and the spiritual which defines human relationships; a voice that tells you exactly how it feels when your baby stays out all night long.
There are those who claim 'wee' Scotland is parochial and small-minded. This concert, and this amazing festival, prove the lie.