HOT OFF THE STAGE: Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel at Liverpool Philharmonic
IF you get a standing ovation before the interval you know it's special.
Steve Harley, marking more than 40 years at the top of his profession, was back in a place he loves.
Steve is currently on a European tour aided by some of the finest musicians you will see together.
Support act, the Mona Lisa Twins, who have appeared at the Wirral Festival of Firsts, are clearly a strong part of this tour.
Generous Steve gave them a song in each of his two sets.
He loves Merseyside audiences and the banter.
Steve spoke affectionately about how proud he was when he helped save the Sefton Park Palm House.
He opened with Here Comes the Sun.
His tribute to George Harrison.
Steve talked warmly of Liverpool and his fans.
The prolific singer-songwriter, born Steve Nice, is a pure craftsman.
The Harley classics were there in a well balanced set list from Tumbling Down to Sebastian - his very own Bohemian Rhapsody.
Steve, who will be giving a Masterclass at LIPA next year, was then centre stage without his band for an acoustic version of his mega hit Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me).
He explained how he came to write it.
Steve's beautiful ballad Friend for Life (just recorded by Rod Stewart) was outstanding.
No better compliment.
Jim Cregan on guitar was sublime. Another class act.
We were treated to Ordinary People - Steve's new single which is, he says, unashamedly Beatle-esque.
Steve thanked his band saying he was just a humble songwriter surrounded by great musicians.
He received another standing ovation for a fully fleshed-out version of Make Me Smile.
Guitar aloft he said it was a 'joyous' night adding "Liverpool you ... and me anytime."
The feeling was mutual.
Steve Harley - a rebel with a cause.