Joe’s back in action

British singer Joe Cocker sings the "Red Cross Gala", Friday, Aug. 5, 2011, in Monaco. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
British singer Joe Cocker sings the "Red Cross Gala", Friday, Aug. 5, 2011, in Monaco. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
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IT’S a long way from Tasker Road in Crookes to the Mad Dog Ranch in Colorado, but Sheffield still holds Joe Cocker close to its heart.

So it’s disappointing to see that the singer is only performing one UK concert on a 68-date European tour - and that’s in London.

Yet the UK wasn’t even on the map when the dates were drawn up.

It was only after BBC Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans championed Joe’s latest single, Fire It Up, playing it twice in a row on one occasion, that the ball started rolling.

Joe heard about the radio interest from his Sheffield-based biographer, J.P.Bean, and sent a message of thanks to the Radio One man, adding that a concert was now being organised for the Hammersmith Apollo.

Now confirmed for Monday, May 13, tickets have been flying - 2,000 went in the first six hours.

A Sheffield add-on looks out of the question, though. Joe goes straight back to Europe - to Lille - after London.

The former gas fitter remains a big attraction across Europe.

Earlier this month he received a Lifetime Achievement award at the Golden Camera Awards in Berlin, performing Up Where we Belong with Jennifer Warnes - the first time they had met in nearly 30 years - and I Come In Peace off the new Fire It Up album, which was released this week in the UK.

He received a four minute standing ovation from an audience of German celebrities as well as an unlikely combination of Al Pacino, Sigourney Weaver and Boy George.

The record has already gone gold in Germany since its release there last November.

It’s the 68-year-old’s 23rd studio album, with Joe reflecting: “Making an album, to me, is a bit like making a painting. You know, you’ve got 12 songs, and it’s colour - I don’t like everything to be one mood.”

These days, when he is not touring or recording, he passes some of the time in Colorado growing tomatoes and fishing. Even that holds its dangers, though. He tore a muscle while on a fishing trip, which required treatment before he embarked on his long tour.