Belfast Telegraph

Dionne music a real 'tonic'

By Eddie McIlwaine

HEARTBREAKER, Dionne Warwick called in from New York just to ask if the Tonic Cinema was still down by the sea in Bangor.

HEARTBREAKER, Dionne Warwick called in from New York just to ask if the Tonic Cinema was still down by the sea in Bangor.

For it was there exactly 20 years ago that the lady who is now celebrating four decades in the entertainment business last appeared in Northern Ireland.

It was a memorable night of standing ovations and great hits. I know, I was there.

Alas I had to tell Miss Warwick that the old cinema is long gone and so is Alf Scott, the man who played host to her that famous evening.

"I've been round the world three times since '83 at the Tonic," she said.

But she's coming back at last - this time to the Waterfront on Thursday night.

"I'm a grandmother now five times over," said Dionne. "And my son David Elliott will be with me on this trip as one of my singers. When I was at the Tonic he was only little.

"Just because I'm a granny doesn't mean I'm slowing down though.

"When I finish this European tour I come home to New York to see the grandchildren and the family for a week and then I head off to the Far East. I'll hardly have time to unpack.

"I don't have a single thought in my head about retiring. Music keeps me young. I couldn't do without a regular fix of a live audience. That's where the energy to keep on the move comes from.

And I'm a great traveller - I doze off as soon as I'm aboard a plane, even if the flight is only 45 minutes, and I wake up refreshed. Especially if Earth Wind and Fire, my favourite group are on the CD. In fact I get my best sleep in the air.

But what about her own songs like Walk on By, Anyone Who Has a Heart, All the Love in the World, I'll Never Love This Way Again and Do You Know the Way to San Jose? which earned her a Grammy?

"I'm always being asked which is my favourite. I can't pick one, it wouldn't be fair. These songs are all my children, they are all special. So I refuse to put one above the rest."

Dionne - the name chosen by her godmother, her mum's best friend - numbers Burt Bach- arach, the man who discovered her, among her admirers. Burt and Hal David have had a great working relationship with her down the years, contributing to many of her 30 hit singles and 20 best selling albums.

But her best album of all was Heartbreaker, produced and written for her unique voice by the Bee Gees.

"I was shocked by what happened to Maurice Gibb. He was too young to die at 53. I owe so much to him and Robin and Barry. And I'll never forget them. I haven't seen Robin and Barry yet. This is a private time for them. I'll talk to them when the pain eases a little."

Tickets for Dionne Warwick at the Waterfront on Thursday are still available from the box office at 02890 334455.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph