Although DeBurgh and band are adept rhythmic melodies with strong tempo, the new “The Hands of Man” release is focussed on the ballad and the title track in its exquisitely pure presentation opened to a sell out crowd at Calgary’s Jubilee Auditorium on Thursday night. The evening swayed back to the oldies and forward to the story telling disposition of late characterized by Chris’ mention to The Lowry that “on the new record, my intention was to reflect who I am today and the things that I think about”. The voluminous lyrics and seemingly automated ability to never miss notes while keeping pace to lead guitar accompaniment Neil Taylor (Tears For Fears, Songs From The Big Chair) is remarkable. For those who remember DeBurgh only for hits “Lady in Red” and “Don’t Pay The Ferryman”, you’d be delighted by the inventory of original work from which he draws. The assembly of lyrics typically has a message intended and in fact a subtle staging graphical backdrop helps folks along. In “Borderline”, he draws reference to war and four songs hence he subliminally and craftfully reproduces the chorus line in segue. In technical precision he hits the highs in dramatic fashion while flowing artfully in songs such as “Where Peaceful Waters Flow”. Continued references to Christian architecture in the new release may highlight DeBurgh’s apparent mistrust of organized religion in spite of his personal devotion. Celtic flavour ferments in “I’m Counting on You” and then contrasted in the symphonic style in songs such as “A Spaceman Came Traveling” and “Africa”.
Chris DeBurgh and band gives you what you want. He puts it all out there for you and displays a genuine gratitude for your attentiveness to his music with mention that Canada exhibited strong support early in his career. Go see him sometime and ladies – don’t forget to wear red.