KNOWN for his smooth vocals and R&B masterpieces, 80's icon Alexander O'Neal is currently embarking on his 30 Years of Hearsay tour which stopped off in Carlisle last week.

By Lauren Page ( email )

With a 30 year career under his belt and staple disco anthems on his showreel such as; Sunshine, Crizicize, Fake and of course Saturday Love. O'Neal is a well known and loved name across the R&B spectrum.

With his tour kicking off at The Venue in Carlisle on Friday February 24, the place quickly filled with eager fans waiting to see the main star.

Popular local singer Andy Whitaker took to the stage to start the evening with a range of acoustic covers. One which took a particular favouritism from the audience was a cover of Brit Award winning singer Rag n Bone Man. The cover of 'Human' showcased Andy's incredible vocals and this was a hit with the audience.

Leaving the audience waiting in true Alexander O'Neal style for 45 minutes, he finally took to the stage with his eight-piece band filling The Venue with the sound of brass, drums, percussion and backing singers.

Starting off the evening with What's Missing, What Can I Say, Hearsay and The Lovers - audiences danced and partied like it was the 80's once again.

However, in a strange turn of events - Alexander left the stage and his backing band and singers took to the stage to pay tribute to some of the artists we have lost in the last year.

Showcasing the likes of Rock With You, Freedom and Careless Whispers to George Micheal, Lets Dance to David Bowie and a special rendition of September to the late Maurice White from Earth Wind and Fire.

The band also payed tribute to Alexander's old friend Prince with 1999 and Kiss. O'Neal featured in the band The Time with Prince back in the Seventies.

Returning to the stage, it was clear to see that the performance had taken it's toll on Alexander O'Neal who returned with a stool for the next few songs.

But can you blame the man? At the age of 63 with a career spanning more than 30 years, to still be touring the country is an incredible achievement.

For the last half of the show, Alexander sat down with the audience to talk about personal moments in his life (and to also drop in the fact he's just released an autobiography).

Talking about his friendship with Prince and where some of the ideas for his songs came from.

Aside from talking, the hit-maker also played the likes of Never Knew, Sunshine, Crying, If U Were Here, Criticize and ending on Fake.

Unfortunately, O'Neal left the stage without an encore leaving fans wondering why he never returned to play arguably one of his greatest hits, Saturday Love.

This gig showcased Alexander O'Neal's 30 year long career and provided Cumbrian fans with the chance to relive their 80's favourites with the R&B icon once again. Alex's vocals are still there and strong as ever and it goes to show that three decades on, fans are still eager as ever to see Alexander O'Neal live.