Joe Cocker

Cornbury Music Festival 2005 reviews

published: Wed 13th Jul 2005

Saturday 9th to Sunday 10th July 2005
Cornbury Park, Charlbury, Oxfordshire, OX7 3EH, England MAP
£70 for w/e, camping £10 extra. days £40
last updated: Tue 14th Jun 2005

I remember when ‘Lift Us Up Where We Belong’ came out, myself and my mates spent all summer singing it and it became a bit of an anthem for us. I also remember what Joe Cocker looked like on the video and he doesn’t look much older stood here in front of me.

He still has the trademark holding his arms at weird angles and his voice has been polished so much more he sounds like he does a stint or two on the Las Vegas circuit. His assembled band provide a hugely proficient sound, we are seriously treated to great musicians all weekend at Cornbury. Joe walks on and blasts off with a massive rendition of ‘Chain of Fools’. Already he’s made an impression and shown us all why he’s a worthy headlining act.

He eases back slightly with Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On’ but it’s more of an opportunity for him to show his vocal range. The rough edges have certainly been sanded from his voice and we’re treated to a dance about to ‘Summer In The City’. Then Joe is accompanied by his backing vocalist for ‘Lift Us Up Where We Belong’ and her vibrant soulful voice runs rings around the original version with Jennifer Warnes.

Even from my point briefly in the car park, collecting warm clothes, I can hear how good it is and I stop in my tracks to hear an unexpected version of U2’s One, it suits his voice well and his added vocal weight adds emotional charge to a poignant song in the wake of what’s happened in London this week.

I manage to up my pace and get back into the arena in time for a glorious end to ‘I Put A Spell On You’ before the dance frenzy of imitating that scene in the Full Monty, thankfully without any removing of garments at least not near us, for the movies’ signature song ‘You Can Leave Your Hat On’. Joe’s vocal chords have stretched fully now and his range on ‘Unchain My Heart’ shows us that indeed it is likely he’s been playing the Vegas circuit.

Returning to take his encore after a huge applause from the crowd and no doubt glad to have given his vocals a rest. Joe is clearly relishing this performance and delivers two more fantastically sung numbers before the finale a hurtling paced ‘Cry Me A River’ rocked up to the hilt.

He may have four decades of musical career under his belt and may be a but fuller of figure than when he started out but Joe Cocker was fantastic on the night and I got the feeling we were lucky to see him and that many have been paying much more to see him and the band he has around him live. It seemed at first a strange choice of headliner but he was a surprise hit.
review by: Scott Williams

Saturday 9th to Sunday 10th July 2005
Cornbury Park, Charlbury, Oxfordshire, OX7 3EH, England MAP
£70 for w/e, camping £10 extra. days £40
last updated: Tue 14th Jun 2005


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