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  • Writer's pictureSteve Crowther

The Reviewer's Readers' Revenge

A long long time ago, I can still remember how

That music used to make me smile

Sometime in 2001 I wrote a review of The Voice. Not the chair-swivelling TV reality competition series looking for the next Tom Jones, but Mr Russell Watson's concert at the York Barbican. I can't honestly remember much about it and I cannot find the review. I do remember being irritated by a photo of Mr Watson posing in a Working Man's club doorway in a suit, in Salford for Christ's sake. And the marketing of Mr Russell as The Voice. And the Barbican acoustic is crap. And I don't like celebrity culture. And these factors may, just may, have seeped into the review itself.

Anyhow, someone reminded me of some readers' feedback from the published article. And here they are:

'In response to Steve Crowther's damning review of Russell Watson's The Voice concert at the Barbican (January 29), I will endeavour to keep my personal account of the night factual, unlike the fabricated nonsense of one man who clearly wouldn't know true talent and a marvellous concert if it was in front of him - and it certainly was!


I found his review confusing on many aspects. I had gone to see Russell Watson in concert with an orchestra and choir - not the other way round, as your reviewer implied. There was no mention of the heart-warming guest appearance of a local children's choir, the duet partners of Cleopatra Higgins and Marion Wilmann and the 40-strong choir.


Nor was there any mention of Russell's obvious bonhomie with both his guests and the audience, who loved him for it.

I cannot claim to be an expert on classical music, but considering the acoustic constraints of the Barbican, the concert left me wanting more.

Russell's natural, powerful singing ability could not fail to touch people's hearts. The applause throughout the concert (both for Russell and the orchestra), with a long standing ovation at the end, left me wondering if Mr Crowther was at the same concert that I attended.'

Helen Atkinson, Spring Hall Garth,


'...what a shame Steve Crowther never gave his ticket to someone else, there wasn't a spare seat in the place. He must have been the only person in the audience not to have enjoyed the evening. The orchestra were superb, not at all "tinny", and Russell Watson himself was fantastic. He appears to be a very nice, unassuming man with an incredible voice.

Unfortunately, I doubt that we will see him at the Barbican again. Next time he will probably be at the Royal Albert Hall, where no doubt the critics will appreciate "the voice" (maybe Steve Crowther should stick to boy bands in future).'

Mrs B Gilbertson,

Teal Drive,



This is the second time I have seen these letters, published in the (then) splendid York Press. The first time was on the noticeboard at the Golden Ball pub.

As I said; I can't really remember the concert, I can't really remember my review, but I do remember embracing the total humiliation of that moment.

Thank you, as ever, Mr Pete Kilbane

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