City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

An Audience with Dana Gillespie

By faysie1 - Posted on 23 August 2008

Show details
Surgeon's Hall
Running time: 
clubWEST Productions
Dana Gillespie (vocalist), Joachim Palden (piano)

One of the great things about the Fringe is the variety of venues you can find yourself in to watch a show. On a great night, with the right performance, even the most unlikely space ceases to matter once you get caught up in the moment. On a very wet August evening, in a pretty non-descript - but very warm - room up Surgeons Hall, Dana Gillespie pretty much managed to make me forget where I was, and transported the audience to a prohibition-era New Orleans bordello. If that seems a little unlikely, let me explain ...


An Audience with Dana Gillespie was an hour of rollicking, risqué boogie-woogie blues. Accompanied by piano wizard Joachim Palden, Miss Gillespie sang her way through a range of blues standards from the first half of the 20th century. It has to be said that none of these numbers could be classified as subtle - with titles like "Big Boy," and lyrics like "you drive me crazy when I play with your toy," the blues is clearly not the genre for those of a modest disposition!

Thankfully, this didn't seem to be a problem for Dana, who explained early on in the performance that she thought that singing the blues really wasn't a job for the inexperienced. From the up-tempo start of "Big Boy" and "Ugly Poppa," through the raunchy "Experience"' to the wonderfully melancholy "St Louis Blues," Dana's rich and soulful voice took us through a blues journey, from risqué humour, to lost love and betrayal.

A special mention has to go to Joachim Palden, Dana's long-time accompanist, and all-round boogie-woogie wizard. As well as accompanying Dana brilliantly throughout the show, Joachim performed a Formula One-paced solo number that blew the audience away - genius.

This was a great snapshot of authentic blues, very well-performed - all that was missing was the bootlegged moonshine...

Times: August 18-23 at 21:00