Review: Elkie Brooks, Byre In The Botanics

Elkie Brooks
Elkie Brooks

When you leave the stage for the intermission on the back of your third standing ovation, you know it’s a belter of a show.

Elkie Brooks’ rich vocals soared across the Botanic Gardens on a glorious summer’s night in St Andrews, and a capacity crowd, seated under a giant perspex marquee, loved it.

They came for the hits. They got them, and much more, in a set that was built around some classic, timeless covers.

And, throughout, Brooks sounded fabulous.

The unmistakable vocals which took her into the charts 40 years remain just as strong and rich at the age of 72 as she underlined that her musical roots belonged in the worlds of jazz and rock, rather than the studios of Top Of The Pops.

Gasoline Alley, Rod Stewart’s old classic, was an early indication of what was to come as Brooks mixed her own hits with songs which have been at the heart of her stage shows for years.

From Percy Sledge to Prince’s Purple Rain, she took them all on, and gave Adele a masterclass on how to really deliver Bob Dylan’s Make You Feel My Love.

The first half featured her own classics – Don’t Cry Out Loud, a fabulous Lilac Wine, and a reflective, warm Fool If You Think It’s Over.

Pearl’s A Singer sparked a mass sing-a-long and one of the many standing ovations which grew simply in number.

And, having delivered the hits, Brooks flipped the set with a second half of out and out rockers, including a stomping Roadhouse Blues by The Doors which ended with the singer hoisting the microphone stand high above her head.

Bob Seger’s We Got Tonight followed, while a heartfelt rendition of Leon Russell, A Song for You was arguably one of the stand out songs.

As it ended, one man in the audience rose to his feet and simply pointed to the singer as if to say ‘’yup, still got it.’’

She absolutely has.

>> Byre In The Botanics continues with The Swamp Donkeys on Thursday, July 20; Midre Ure on Saturday 22nd; Chris Barber’s Big Band on Thursday 27th; and Gallacher & Lyle on Saturday 29th. For full listings, including cinema and other events, visit

Byre In The Botanics