16th May 2022
Younger audiences may be asking ‘Who are the Lighthouse Family?’, but as soon as ‘High’ or ‘Ocean Drive’ are played, people know who they are. Keyboardist Paul Tucker and vocalist Tunde Baiyewu formed a musical duo in the late 80s in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and rose to fame in the mid-nineties. Having a few top ten singles, and five top ten albums, Lighthouse Family became a firm favourite for easy listening and generally just feeling positive.
Their latest album, ‘Blue Sky in Your Head’, is the duo’s first in eighteen years, but they have still managed to retain their signature sound that yielded them success in the nineties. The euphoric sound that Tucker creates, a place of freedom and disconnection from the troubles of the world, is heightened by Baiyewu’s yearning but comforting vocals. This is something that transfers brilliantly to the stage, as you are not at another gig, you feel at home.
Before the main event, Georgie played a short acoustic set, demonstrating her musicianship as a guitarist and pianist, as well as her soft, sultry vocals. Georgie spoke of taking a minute out of life, something that people often forget to do in this modern world. It is clear to see why the Lighthouse Family would choose Georgie to support, with her easy-listening sound, and the ethos of just breaking away from the troubles of life.
There is no doubt a true skill and passion for music within the young artist, just the choruses of songs may have been repeated a little too often, losing some of the lyrical integrity which was demonstrated in songs like ‘Emily Jane’ and her tribute to Bonnie Raitt with ‘Love Me Like a Man’. Toward the end of her set, Georgie mentioned ‘This next song is called ‘Chasing Kites’, but people think I am saying ‘Chasing Cats’’, which, after listening, I do think she might of been playing with the audience and saying cats. Overall, a fantastic artist that is worth looking out for.
Drowned in blue light whilst spinning white floral patterns light up the Philharmonic Hall, an unsubtle nod to their latest album, the orchestral sounding keys builds, before Paul Tucker and Tunde Baiyewu walk onstage with their backing band. The crowd erupts before quickly settling into this subdue nature, to intently listen and feel transcendent. The band kicks off with ‘Question of Faith’, opening with the line ‘Can’t see the truth in triggered words’, which is just as relevant and pertinent today as it did in 1999.
Whilst Tunde Baiyewu may have seen a little stiff for the first number, his vocals sounded just as fresh and pure as heard on those records all those years ago. However, Baiyewu quickly finds his groove, bursting into ‘Loving Every Minute’, which sees him dancing along the stage, and interacting with all his band, including his fantastic backing vocalist. Even Tucker cannot help but throw his hands in the air and smile widely, shouting ‘Wicked!’
Baiyewu reminds the audience that time has passed and they have changed with the times, all whilst maintaining their signature sound. ‘All our songs are inspired by love and trust,’ Baiyewu tells the audience, before mentioning that ‘Put My Heart on You’ is inspired by his baby daughter, who laid on him one night and asked if she could put her heart on his. The ethos of loving one another can be traced throughout all of their songs, and is clearly inspired by family, friends, parenthood. The Lighthouse Family create a space in which you can turn to anyone around you, and sing along with them, and feel accepted and embraced. This is something that has been upheld as songs from their new album are seamlessly integrated with their ‘classics’, and not one seems out of place.
Tucker adds another story that Paddy McGuiness advised them not to create new music and to ‘just play the old stuff’. Obviously, that was ignored, and tucker shouts proudly ‘It has been twenty-three years since playing here, and been eighteen years since we returned, and the love we have had for the Lighthouse Family has just been incredible!’ The audience erupts, as the duo break into some of their biggest hits, including ‘Ocean Drive’. Everyone is on their feet, clapping, singing, dancing. Each individual, couple, group, had a connection to the songs they were singing, and a stronger connection to each other. That is the power of music.
There are still UK tour dates left, and you can buy tickets here.
You can also check out Georgie’s music below, as well as the best of the Lighthouse Family!