Jimmy Nail, Portsmouth Guildhall

WHEN a colleague of mine gave me the new Ten Great Songs and an OK Voice Jimmy Nail CD, I was thrilled to bits and couldn't wait to play it in the car going home from work.

All geared up for the ten-minute drive, I put track one on as loud as I could stand and was a teenager once again. Before I got home, I had skipped through all the tracks and was listening to Power FM. What had gone wrong? Ten cover versions that, in my opinion, did justice neither to the original artists or Nail himself.

I decided to keep an open mind on the concert. The first words Nail uttered to a packed audience at the Guildhall was: "I'm going to perform six songs from my new album. . ."

Should I leave now, I thought, or grin and bear it? In fact, the voice was great and the songs, including those from the album and a medley of Bacharach, Nail's own and others, were brought to life by some insightful interpretations. The Geordie charm was effortlessly applied, Nail engaging the audience with his knowledge of each song's background as he took us on a journey from childhood memories to present day interpretations - an eclectic range of songs including Nail's first performance of May to September and The Look of Love.

Can songs be performed better live than in a recording studio? I'd have to say yes. The CD is now back in the car with the others from the Nail collection.