Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

Review: Edwyn Collins a celebration of life and the human spirit

Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival

The point was lost on absolutely no one here that Edwyn Collins's mere presence on stage was a miracle in itself.

It has been a slow but inspiring recovery for the 53-year-old from Edinburgh since a double brain haemorrhage left him fighting for his life and in hospital for most of 2005.

Since then, he has completed one album and, improbably, recorded two more, adding to his 30-year discography with new wave touchstones Orange Juice and as a solo artist of rare wit and charm.

The effects of Collins's illness are clear on his body.

He suffers from badly restricted movement on his right side and can no longer play the guitar.

But his voice, his spirit and his sense of humour are intact.

Before the spry new song 31 Years, he playfully chided his guitarist for taking too long to tune up, before defiantly bellowing its chorus: "What the heck, I'm living now!"

Unsurprisingly, Collins's two most recent albums dwell heavily on his illness.

But last night's set was a celebration of his entire career.

And it included the ageless Rip It Up and A Girl Like You.

At an all-seater gig, the front rows were full of gleeful dancers. It was a celebration of life.

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