Mike Atkinson

The Nolans – Nottingham Royal Concert Hall, Sunday October 11.

Posted in gigs, Nottingham Post, Royal Concert Hall by Mike A on October 12, 2009

Twenty-six years after Bernie, Coleen, Linda and Maureen last performed together as The Nolans, the four sisters chose Nottingham for their return to the live circuit. Billed as “the ultimate girls’ night out”, the reunion tour follows in the wake of a comeback album (I’m In The Mood Again) – and as with the album, the sisters opted to mix their old hits with a selection of well-known (and in some cases, well-worn) covers.

In keeping with the “girls’ night out” theme, eight strapping male dancers were given free rein to strut their stuff, in a wide range of costumes which didn’t always stay on for too long. During the opening medley of Holding Out For A Hero and It’s Raining Men, their cheesy, Chippendales-style cavortings threatened to overpower the whole show – but as the ninety minute set progressed, a better balance was struck.

As for the ladies themselves, now in their forties and fifties, middle age has not diminished their capacity to entertain. Coleen’s regular television appearances have turned her into the most instantly recognisable Nolan, while lead singer Bernie – a sorely underrated talent in her day – remains the star vocal attraction. The slender, dignified Maureen seemed almost untouched by the passing of the years – whereas Linda, always the joker of the pack, has become the most emotionally charged performer of the four.

Visibly nervous at the start of the show, Linda gained strength and confidence as the evening progressed. When she wobbled, you willed her on. By the end of the main set – drained by an intense performance of Christina Aguilera’s The Voice Within, and overwhelmed by the warmth of our applause – she was openly weeping. Other sisters, and even some audience members, followed suit.

The cheers grew ever louder, reaching fever pitch as I’m In The Mood For Dancing closed the show, and forcing the stunned, nearly exhausted sisters to reprise the whole song. As comebacks go, this one was little short of triumphant. It’s good to have them back.

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