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Caro Emerald is a jazz singer from Amsterdam, her style is a mixture of jazz, big band and swing. Her first single 'Back It Up' debuted in July 2009, followed by 'A Night Like This' which reached No1 in the Dutch charts. Her first album 'Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Floor' released in August 2010 spent 30 weeks at No. 1 in Holland, becoming the country's biggest selling album of 2010. On New Year's Eve 2011 she appeared on BBC2’s Jools Holland's Hootenanny show backed by the Jools Holland Rhythm & Blues Orchestra. In April 2013, her second studio album 'The Shocking Miss Emerald' went to No. 1 in the UK album chart, becoming her first UK No. 1 album.

I’m sat waiting for Caro to appear on stage and it feels like I've entered a time warp or in the Glen Miller Story. I grew up listening to a mixture of jazz and big band, and know and love both. My dad was a jazz pianist and the music playing reminds me of when I was young. That, or I've slipped inside a video game and I'm Vault Boy! Suddenly, the audience quietened down as the opening bars of another pre recorded track starts up. The lights fade and the audience erupt, there was complete silence on stage, searchlights lit up the stage, is it the Blitz? An announcer then told us we could sing along to any of the songs or get up and dance if we wanted to. Caro appeared on stage, dressed all in black, with a funny little hat on! The band is already on stage, and is made up of keyboards, drums, double bass, guitar, trombone, bass, saxophone and trumpet, plus someone with a Mac and full mixing desk!

The first song ‘One Day’, what a lovely song, the audience really love it! The song finished and Caro started to talk. She asked for the house lights up so she could see the audience and said: "Thank you all for your support, I'm so glad to make it here finally I hope you enjoy the show. " The audience cheered and whistled, as Caro started her second song, 'Completely', accompanied by a muted trumpet. She then sang 'Tell me how long' looking around the theatre is completely filled, the audience loving her performance. Next up Was 'Pack up the Louie' - about a Louis Vuitton bag! A clever, funny song, followed immediately by the instantly recognisable 'Liquid Lunch'. I love this song, so full of regrets for past excessive behaviour!! The double bass player is very versatile, he's now on bass guitar, he was on keyboards last song! Caro conducted the audience in a clapping rhythm, horns joined in, then Caro, then the audience joined in with 'Back it up', loving every note. Caro then tells us about a dream she has.... "You know it's a really big dream of mine to sing the next James Bond song, a big dream, so just in case, I've written it”. She then sang "I belong to you", which could well be the next Bond theme!

Caro has nipped offstage, so the band are really going for it, the steel guitar leads and its almost rockabilly! The bass player is back on double bass, all three brass joining in, excellent drums! Caro is back on - after a swift costume change! Gorgeous grey black and white dress, teamed with black lace gloves. She starts in French, of course, it's 'Paris'!  A single spotlight is on Caro with just the guitar and double bass playing. The next song has a very interesting title: "Coming back as a man". Caro tells the audience: "This is for all the women, as I guess we've all thought it, cos it must be easier!"  What a funny, clever song!

The next one, the audience immediately starts clapping, clearly recognising the lyrics to 'Excuse my French'. The trombone takes one part of the tune, beautiful playing. After this song, Caro asks: "So ladies, what do you think of the horns? Cos we've got a very special feature in the next song!". Its Doctor Wanna Do, with some amazing musicianship by the brass section. The audience are clapping along. The Sax player has a solo, I think it's a bass sax. Caro disappears again, the trombone and trumpet join the  sax player, brilliant playing by them all. Is this another dress change? Nope, just a short break for Caro. The sax player is excellent, the audience goes wild.


Next up is ‘Stuck’, a lovely, melancholic song, and she goes off stage again as the piano starts the next song, very atmospheric opening bars, no other instruments just piano. Lots of low chords then a melody line, but minor key. Then the rest of the band joins in, Caro comes returns after another dress change, and launches into 'Tangled Up'. I love this song, as does the rest of the audience. Her next dress is a pale burnt orange, black and white belted dress with black sparkly beret, this time, and she's taken off her shoes! She asks the audience: "So ladies , how many of you came to see the guitar player?...we've got a song about that!" And then sings a song about a sexy musician whilst the guitarist plays and dances around the stage with some nifty dancing! She follows this with ‘The wonderful in you’, such a sad, poignant song. Caro instructions people to get up and dance to ‘You don't love me’, lots of people do in the aisles! She follows this with ‘A night like this’, saying its her last song, and by now, everyone is up dancing, and absolutely loving it. The song ends and the noise is deafening, the whole audience are cheering, whistling, shouting for more, clapping, just not stopping! They wait for Caro to come back, and she sings two notes then silence, then cheering, then silence as she sings one more song ‘The Other Woman’ - which is such a sad song.

The crowd are still standing and swaying in time to the music. She follows this with ‘That Man’, its such a good ragtime song, the crowd love it! She's been singing for almost two hours now, and her voice is amazing! The crowd clap, whistle, cheer, yell, and create loads of noise. Caro thanks her backstage people and then asks “shall we do one more song?” That was the only silly thing she said all night....of course we want more Caro, sing all night. Yes! A man cries out "we love you Caro", she responds “I love you too!” Caro sings ‘If you go away’, the old Dusty Springfield song. The audience slowly sits down to listen, as she sings partly in French – “Ne me quites pas, ne me quite pas, ne me quite pas”. I love this song, she possesses such an amazing voice and she sang it beautifully.

This was a superb gig, and if you get the chance, go and see Caro Emerald, you'll be in for a treat. She will be touring the UK again in March 2014 so make sure you get your tickets in time as this show was completely sold out.

Review by Shirley Procter
Photos by Melanie Smith (set here)

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