Steve Harley, Kings Theatre, Southsea.

A spine-tingling Sebastian in all its glory was the highlight when Steve Harley came up and saw us and made us smile at the Kings Theatre in Southsea.

Barry Wickens on violin and James Lascelles on keyboards were the perfect backing for a version that left you thinking that ‘Yep, Sebastian probably is one of the greatest songs ever written’.

Not that the evening wasn’t solid gold all the way through.

Harley delivered a terrific set, mixing lesser-known songs with all-time favourites including Mr Soft, Judy Teen and Best Years Of Our Lives.

It’s great to see him with the full band every now and again, but tonight’s acoustic trio format worked wonderfully well - the ideal way to appreciate the quality of those lyrics, as sharp as ever.

But the icing on the cake, as ever with Harley, was that he knows when to chat.

Musicians who don’t say a word should look and learn. It’s that Harley chat which takes it to the next level, underlining that great precious quality of live music - it’s here, it’s now and it’s just for you in this very moment.

It’s what lets the personality of the performer shine through.

Nursing a badly-bruised thumb and contemplating his 60th birthday next week, Harley was absolutely at the top of his game, a consummate performer at ease with one of modern music’s very best back catalogues.

Phil Hewitt