NEXT year, American singer-songwriter Christopher Cross will release a boxed set of his considerable output - a 40th anniversary celebration of his career.

This news received a wonderful response from the sell-out, wide-aged group audience on the Liverpool leg of his latest tour.

They had clearly grown up with his timeless brand of music.

Christopher is a master craftsman and in a slick, beautifully balanced two-set concert he gave his fans just what they wanted - a journey through the best of his 12-album catalogue.

He played his entire first self-titled multi-Grammy award winning 1979 album featuring some fresh, sparkling and jazz-infused arrangements.

The songs have stood the test of time and many of the tracks are still played as mainstays on soft rock radio stations to this day such as Sailing and Ride Like The Wind.

He was joined by a superb four-piece band including the saxophonist Andy Suzuki and two female singers.

An international line-up of sheer class.

Drums, bass and keyboards alongside his distinctive vocals re-created the lush ballads and rockers - masterful pop classics that have rightly placed Christopher in the elite league of much-respected global performers.

Lighting was kept to a minimum and there were was no dry ice or special effects but there was just the right amount of chat from this shy, self-effacing guitarist who showed a lovely sense of humour .

Sporting a Peaky Blinders-styled cap and John Lennon t-shirt he praised Liverpool, The Beatles and the UK's enviable history.

The musician from Texas 'home of The Alamo' also spoke about the state of politics in the USA and here in Britain, but most of his banter was kept to interesting introductions to his songs.

And the set list was a dream for his fans who have followed him from initial superstar status to productive musician: Never Be The Same Again, All Right, Say You'll Be Mine and I Really Don't Know Anymore joined recent work such as Dreamers.

His quality control is evident on every single composition.

There were nostalgic sighs for his Oscar-winning hit Arthur's Theme (The Best That You Can Do) which was accompanied by a tribute to Dudley Moore, Burt Bacharach and British comedians.

A three-song acoustic set included Chris sitting down in front of his bank of electrics guitars.

The love-gone-wrong anthem Words of Wisdom was a highlight.

Christopher soared with ease on a stunning version of Minstrel Gigolo with some sublime harmonies.

Just one encore - the breath-taking Think of Laura where his vocals and solo piano accompaniment ensured a spine-tingling finale.

His latest album is called Take Me As I Am - also the title of his tour which sees him play the RNCM Theatre in Manchester on Friday.

The Merseyside audience welcomed this multi-layered, talented star with open arms.

Let's hope he returns soon to continue celebrating a legacy of timeless songwriting and live performances.

Trans-Atlantic Troubadour

5 Stars

UK tour details at