Seal is a sensation singing Standards in Scotland

Killer set...Seal turned on the style with his big band at the Usher Hall in Edinuburgh on Saturday night, performing Standards as well as some of his biggest hits. (Pic: Robert Kidd)
Killer set...Seal turned on the style with his big band at the Usher Hall in Edinuburgh on Saturday night, performing Standards as well as some of his biggest hits. (Pic: Robert Kidd)

From the second Seal swaggered onto the stage, clicking his fingers as the big band played the opening chords for Luck Be a Lady, everyone in the audience knew they were in for a treat.

And the capacity crowd at Edinburgh Usher Hall on Saturday night lapped up every minute of the British superstar’s triumphant return to the capital.

Despite three decades in the industry, racking up more than 30 million record sales worldwide and a string of Grammy, Brit and Ivor Novello awards along the way, Seal always manages to remain current.

Which probably explains why such a mixed crowd turned out to hear him sing some of the most iconic songs in the world.

Seal’s new album, Standards, was released on November 10 and features a host of classic tracks, embedded in most of our memories thanks to our parents, films or, in recent years, even adverts.

And as his more than standard voice teased and caressed the second number, I Put a Spell on You, it appeared he truly had bewitched the lot of us.

It’s not hard to understand either – that voice is undoubtedly world class but charisma oozes from his every pore and he’s witty too, as hecklers in the crowd found out to their cost!

To the guy that shouted out Crazy just a few songs into Seal’s routine, the leading man quipped back, in a no too bad Scottish accent, Will ye wait yer turn, man! Gaun yersel, Seal!

As for returning to Scotland with Standards, he said: “It’s great to be back here. I was feeling great about doing the tour, but even more so coming to Scotland as I’ve got a lot of good memories here.

“It’s incumbent on me as an artist to have an experience with these songs, which are synonymous with our lives.

“They are written and arranged in a very, very different way than we write them today.

“Musicians would sit down with Frank Sinatra or Nat King Cole at the piano and they’d arrange the story and orchestrate it.

“We don’t write music like that today – they’ve become the Standards we all aspire to and for me, as a singer, I hold them in the highest esteem.”

With that, Seal and his big band led us on a journey through musical history, bringing their own unique stylings to They Can’t Take That Away From Me, I’ve Got You Under My Skin, My Funny Valentine, It Was a Very Good Year and That’s Life, among others.

And then the hecklers who had earlier been calling for Seal’s own classics were sated, starting gently with Don’t Make Me Wait Long before he strapped on the guitar for the crowd-pleasing Kiss From a Rose which really got folk on their feet.

The excitement only mounted when Seal decided to go walkabout in the crowd several times during his own set...and we all wished we were in the stalls!

I contemplated jumping from the Circle but decided I was happy enough to have finally seen a singer whose voice I’ve loved for the last three decades but who, unashamedly, I now have a bit of a crush on too!

My personal favourite? Prayer for the Dying but Killer and Kiss from a Rose surely also now deserve the term modern Standards.

If you get a chance to see Seal in concert anytime soon, believe me, you’d be Crazy to miss the show but, be warned...he may well put a spell on you too!

Remaining tour dates:

Wednesday, February 14, Manchester O2 Apollo

Saturday, Febraury 17, Brighton Dome

Sunday, February 18, Bristol Colston Hall

Monday February 19, Nottingham Royal Concert Hall

Wednesday, February 21, Birmingham Symphony Hall

Thursday, February 22, London Palladium