by Steve Coats-Dennis
As we rapidly approach 2020, what better time to look back through 2010 to 2019 to remember Alison’s decade of new music, extensive touring and an award or two!
Alison’s 2010 was heavily occupied touring throughout the UK as the very special guest of Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra. Across 56 dates, Alison performed a four-song set: Love Letters, The Man That Got Away, Only You and finishing off with John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom. The Liverpool Echo reviewed the show, naming the highlight as Alison Moyet’s guest spot. “In a four-song set, she transfixed the crowd”. The Times in their review of the Royal Albert Hall show declared: “His trump card was a guest spot by Alison Moyet, these days a blues siren whose mojo is working in all departments”.
By contrast, following on from the remarkable Yazoo reunion in 2008, which saw Alison Moyet and Vince Clarke touring Europe and North America, Mute Records released Reconnected Live in September 2010.
BBC Music in their review of the double CD release asked “who would have thought that a tour, recorded 25 years after they split, would make such essential listening?”
In October, Alison joined a line-up of stars playing tribute to Kirsty MacColl at Shepherd’s Bush Empire. A Concert for Kirsty saw Alison performing ‘Head’ and ‘Walking Down Madison’ (the latter was a song Kirsty originally offered to Alison to record). The Times review declared: “Alison Moyet stole the show, as she often does in these situations, with a simply electrifying performance”.
Later, in November, Alison returned to the stage, this time dueting with Jamie Cullum at the Prince’s Trust Gala at the Royal Albert Hall performing “Feelin’ Good”.
To cap a busy 2010, Alison was invited to appear on Jools’ Annual Hootenanny on BBC One. She performed Boom Boom and Love Letters.
The Short Circuit Festival presented two days at The Roundhouse celebrating Mute in May 2011. Alison and Vince reunited as Yazoo (which Alison told The Quietus that she was “99.9% sure it’s the last time” they would play together. Their setlist was Nobody’s Diary, Ode to Boy and their final song, Don’t Go.
In September, Alison was awarded an honorary degree by South Essex College.
Alison was invited to be the special guest at the O2 Bubble for The Buggles: Reunited as part of the British Music Experience in October.
Alison would go on to perform the song again the next month at the Prince’s Trust Rock Gala at the Royal Albert Hall.
In November, Alison joined the AIDA Night of the Proms concerts in Germany with the likes of Seal and Nile Rodgers and Chic across sold-out arenas in 12 different locations. Alison’s set was That Ole Devil Called Love, All Cried Out and Don’t Go.
In January, Alison joined Twitter.
Alison took to the stage on the Cornbury Festival (often dubbed ‘Poshstock’) in June. Her setlist included Love Resurrection, Dorothy and Only You.
August saw Alison performing at Manchester Pride. Her setlist included Momma Momma, Is This Love?, Dorothy and Whispering Your Name.
Alison chose to revisit the lesser-performed parts of her back catalogue with her sell-out show Alison Moyet – Rare and Obscured at the legendary Ronnie Scott’s in London in October. True to her word, she performed songs such as Home, Will The Circle Be Unbroken? and Fool, Reconsider Me.
Alison was the surprise guest at The Divine Comedy‘s performance at the Royal Festival Hall in November. Neil Hannon accompanied Alison’s playing Don’t Go before she performed their song, The Certainty of Chance.
Alison started the year by signing to Cooking Vinyl ahead of releasing her eighth solo album.
The first single When I was Your Girl is released in April. A video, filmed on an incredibly cold and rainy Southend pier and featuring Alison’s youngest daughter, accompanies its release.
the minutes, Alison’s eighth solo album, is released on 6 May. Alison commented: ““With the exceptional talent that is Guy Sigsworth as producer and collaborator, we have recorded a collection of original songs that sees me moving away from a generic line up and back into the world of a programmer. Born of reconstructed improvisation I like to think of it as Prog-Pop, but I also like to think of big dogs as small horses. So don’t hang on to that thought long. Unless, of course, you think it astute of me in which case I am right”
The Daily Express called the album “stirring and beautiful”, Clash magazine hailed it “Moyet’s finest album in twenty years” with Q Magazine agreeing: ” this is her best LP in decades”. Renowned for Sound concluded their review: “With this new collection of diverse, genre blending gold nuggets she has shifted her musical capabilities up a notch and shown us she is more than capable of holding her own alongside today’s electro-pop hit makers and is able to do so without selling herself out or losing any of her artistic credibility.”
As well as critical acclaim, the album was a huge popular success. the minutes gave Alison her highest chart position for a studio album since 1980s – the album entering the album chart at #5!
A second single, Love Reign Supreme, was released in June. The video was taken from Alison’s Taking the Minutes album preview gig at Bush Hall.
On the 28th June, Alison was presented with the Icon Award at the Nordoff-Robbins Silver Clef Awards. At the star-studded event, in aid of music charity Nordoff-Robbins, at the London Hilton on Park Lane, Alison received her award from long-time mate, Dawn French.
On the 3rd August, Alison performed at Brighton Pride. Her setlist included When I Was Your Girl, Situation and Right As Rain.
August saw the first ever video version of Ask Alison. Hosted by Emma Kennedy, Alison answered fan questions sent in from around the world.
The hugely -popular The Minutes tour began in Berlin on Sept 16 and ended on 15 December in Cape Town, taking in dates in Germany, Netherlands, France, UK and Ireland, three dates in the US and three more in South Africa.
Changeling was the third single released off the minutes. Released in October, it was accompanied by a video (filmed on Sept 2 in The Vaults beneath Waterloo Station).
On the 16th October, Alison appeared as a guest performer on The One and Only Cilla Black celebrating Cilla Black’s 50 years in show business. Alison performed “Anyone Who Had a Heart”.
Due to overwhelming demand, more dates added to the minutes tour. Alison’s first live date of 2014 was a memorable night at the Royal Albert Hall. The Evening Standard review was summed up: “She has never been better”.
Live appearances followed at Glastonbury, the Isle of Wight Festival and Suikerrock (Belgium).
Alison was a recipient of a Gold Badge Award, presented by The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) at the Savoy in London in October.
In November, Cooking Vinyl released Minutes and Seconds Live featuring music taken from the extensive ‘the minutes’ tour containing a selection of material from ‘the minutes’, plus highlights from Alison’s earlier solo and Yazoo repertoires. “This really is a exceptional live release from a truly exceptional musician!” was Renowned for Sound’s verdict on the record.
The 21st September saw Alison give a performance at the Burberry show as part of London Fashion Week. Alison performed 4 songs with the 32-piece orchestra in front of the likes of Kate Moss, Cara Delevingne, Benedict Cumberbatch and Sienna Miller: All Cried Out, When I Was Your Girl, Whispering Your Name and Only You.
The performance was praised in that day’s Evening Standard: ” Moyet, who enjoys near superstar status among the fashion industry, ignited spontaneous applause from those who watched from the front row. Transfixed by her presence, many missed the clothes entirely.”
An Ep, Live for Burberry, featuring Alison’s performance was released two days later.
June saw Alison give a Live At Chelsea concert in the grounds of the Chelsea Hospital. One reviewer hailed it “A triumphant and delightful performance by one of Britain’s synthpop icons.”
At the start of October, Cooking Vinyl released Deluxe editions of Hometime, Voice and The Turn.
On 24th November, Alison reprised her ‘Burberry’ take on Only You for the British Fashion Awards.
Alison joined the line-up for Shakespeare Live! From The RSC, a one-off event to be screened on BBC2 on Saturday 23rd April. She performed her own brand-new arrangement of Sigh No More, Ladies.
Fans were delighted in June to be able to see Alison up close and personal with her intimate Get Loud Music Session, in aid of Nordoff Robbins, at the Roundhose Studio. Her setlist included: Remind Yourself, Falling and Don’t Go.
Later that month, Alison joined Nile Rodgers and Chic as special guest at the Fold Festival at London’s historic Fulham Palace.
In November, BMG released Deluxe editions of Alison’s first four solo albums: Alf, Raindancing, Hoodoo and Essex. Classic Pop Magazine gave the reissues 6 out 6 stars, Gay Times and Attitude both awarded them 5 out 5 and Scunthorpe Telegraph 10 out of 10.
Attitude Magazine commented “The singer-songwriter’s back catalogue has never sounded better” before concluding “Each album in the set is a 2-disc jobby with an abundance of remixes, rarities, demos and live cuts housed in casebound books, making them an absolute must for Alf-ettes.”
Alison rounded off the year with a special appearance at Cooking Vinyl 30th Anniversary gig at the intimate Lexington in London. During the gig, Alison gave the very first live performance of the song, Other.
Ahead of the release of her ninth solo album, Other, a video of the album’s title track was released in March.
In April Alison appeared on BBC Radio 2’s The Graham Norton Show which gave the first preview of the single, Reassuring Pinches.
The Rarest Birds was released as a single from the forthcoming album. The video for the single (released in July) was filmed in Alison’s current hometown of Brighton – the place which inspired the song.
The Isle of Wight Festival in June was Alison’s first live gig that year but it certainly was not to be her last.
Ahead of the album release, Alison performed an intimate gig at London’s Round Chapel where among her setlist were six songs from Other. Receiving their first live performances were: I Germinate, Reassuring Pinches, Lover Go, The Rarest Birds and Beautiful Gun.
Alison’s ninth solo album, Other, was released on the 16th June. She remarked that the “Subject matter covers what you might expect from a pop album. Dyslexia, locked-out syndrome, diversity, Persephone, doggedness and the Internet.”
The album was warmly received by fans and critics alike. Classic Pop Magazine called it “an intensely thrilling tour de force” while Loud Than War proclaimed “Other is quite often stunning in its simplicity and exhilarating in its complexity, and all the time offering moments of to take your breath away.”
Later in June, Alison went to Giske Island in Norway to guest with Norwegian band A-Ha’s acoustic album, MTV Unplugged – Summer Solstice, singing “Summer Moved On”.
Alison returned to Pilton to headline the LeftField stage at Glastonbury Festival on Saturday 24th June.
In July, Alison appeared in I FEEL LOVE, a special concert part of LGBT 50, marking the 50th anniversary of sexual freedom in the UK. She sang Whispering Your Name and The Rarest Birds, her paean to diversity and the LGBT community.
In October, in Washington DC, Alison began The Other Tour – her biggest global tour in thirty years. It would take her across the US and Canada, to New Zealand and Australia, the UK and Ireland and through Europe – to some of the best reviews she had ever received in her career. And of course, writing her own, inimitable tour blog which you can read here.
A-ha’s album MTV Unplugged – Summer Solstice is released in the October with Alison dueting with Morten Harket on the song, Summer Moved On.
A new version of Only You by Yazoo is released in November – the music of which is used in a TV Christmas advert.
The year finished off in grand style when Classic Pop Magazine name Alison Moyet’s Other as their Album of the Year and Alison tops their Readers’ poll as Solo Artist of the Year.
In April, Cooking Vinyl release Alison’s second full-length live album. The Other Live Collection featured tracks taken from Alison’s 2017 Other tour.
Essentially Pop described it as “13 tracks of what must be the most beautiful voice in music today” while The Herald praised Alison: “she is still at the top of her game following a career that has so far spanned more than three decades”.
In May, Alison performs at the 70th Bath Festival. Her setlist includes This House, All Signs of Life and Ski.
In October, BMG release Four Pieces – A Yazoo Compendium, a deluxe box set featuring four vinyl records. Due to huge demand, Three Pieces – A 3 CD Boxset follows a week later.
The review in the Metro calls the release “pure gold dust: emotion, invention and truly banging tunes.”
Alison kicked off the year with some live dates in the Netherlands and Germany.
The live performances continued in January and February when Alison joined Tears For Fears as their very special guest on their very successful UK arena tour.
The Express and Star in reviewing the Birmingham concert on their tour commented: ” “Sharp, punchy and thoroughly modern, Moyet was revitalised and stunning.”
July found Alison as Special Guest of Jools Holland for his Kew The Music gig within the stunning grounds of the Royal Botanic Gardens. Her setlist included Beautiful Gun, All Cried Out and The Sharpest Corner (Hollow).
Three days later, Alison performed a solo show at the Isle of Man‘s Villa Arena.
In September, Alison performed at the Michel Legrand Remembered tribute concert at the Royal Festival Hall. She sang Nobody Knows and the evening’s final song, Windmills Of Your Mind.
Who knows what the new decade will bring? Back looking back at the 2010s, it’s impressive quite how incredibly productive Alison Moyet has been in her fourth decade in the music business!