The Gala Theatre, Durham- Sun 12th September 2008

Caroline Watson

What can you say about Brian Kennedy??  He's just so absolutely, totally, utterly, completely captivating.  And mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm he's looking good at the moment!!!!!! Let's get the shallow bit out of the way first - he was wearing Nike trainers (from LA apparently), tight black jeans (and when I say tight I reckon I could have counted the coins in his pocket if he'd had any!!!!! LOL) and a tight black t-shirt.  Well if you've got it, flaunt it, and he's certainly got it!!!!!!!  He really did look great.  He apologised for his clothes, it was the only outfit he had with him cos he'd managed to leave his bag in the hotel he'd stayed in the night before!!!!  Someone shouted "It'll all be on e-bay tomorrow" and he laughed and said "they'll get a nasty shock, there's a weeks worth of dirty washing in there!!!!" LOLOL.  Oh he had a black jacket on at the beginning too but that didn't last through song 3!!!  His hair's lovely (even my sister, Debbie, loved it and she was a big fan of those long locks)  He sang solidly for 1 hour 40 minutes, so he fitted loads in. From the top of my head (and nowhere near in order) he did:

Brown Eyed Girl
Night and Day
Let's stay together
Crazy Love / Have I told you lately
Get on with your short life
Put the message in the box
For one kiss
Christopher Street
Curragh of Kildaire
Margaret Barry
Silver hearts on chains
So what if it rains
First time ever I saw your face
Every song is a cry for love
Dangerous (I've never heard this before and I LOVE IT!!!  Going to have to buy the Sweetmouth album today as this song was just soooo lovely)

You Raise me up

There may have been even more but they'll no doubt come back to me later.  Of course he sang everything beautifully, for the first time ever I noticed him forget the words to something (can't remember what) but he recovered immediately and I overheard him say to someone at the signing later "yeah of course I forget the lines sometimes, I usually just make em up, but sure I'm only human!!" Bless!!! 

Highlights for me were 'Curragh' which I always love, same goes for 'Christopher Street', 'Silver Hearts' has to be one of the most beautiful songs ever written IMO, it was great to hear 'So what if it rains' cos I don't think I've seen that live before and I love it.  'Short Life' was great, I love watching him do that one.  As I've already said 'Dangerous' was brilliant, such a cleverly written and unusual song, but sooooo lovely.  'Night and Day' was brilliant, he did the first half unaccompanied, building up through the song, loved it.  I've heard him sing 'Brown Eyed Girl' once before on a TV programme and I have to admit I thought he absolutely murdered it, I hated it and thought he should have left it well alone.  So when he started to introduce it last night, inwardly I groaned!!!  And it was just SO beautiful, it made the hairs on my neck stand up!!!  It was fantastic, and what he said afterwards was true, slow it down like that and suddenly you realise how lovely the lyrics are.  Debbie made me laugh afterwards, she said "ONLY Brian could make 'Brown Eyed Girl' depressing!!!!!"  LOL  'Crazy love'  he made us sing, then he got us doing 'Have I told you.....', when we got to "you fill my heart with gladness, take away my sadness" half of us got the words mixed up, he was so funny, we got to the end and he sang "nooooo this is what you fill my heart with SADNESS so that must mean I take away your GLADNESS, ease your troubles I guess I don't!!"  So he made us do it again properly!!!  LOL.

He said early on that there was no set list, they had 10 albums of songs to choose from (he told us he didn't have time to do them all, but he'd do "loads" and he'd try not to talk too much!!) and if there was anything we desperately wanted to hear, just to shout.  So quite a lot of people did just that.  He did pretty much everything anyone asked for, some of the time taking the mickey out of whoever shouted, one woman shouted "Life, love and happiness" to which Brian said  "yes, I absolutely agree with you" she shouted "Get on with your short life", he said "I'm trying to I promise", she shouted something else and he said "you're just so excited aren't you?  Someone get that woman a drink!!!"  LOL.

Almost at the end someone requested 'Ballad of Killaloe' and Brian said "do we really want to get THAT sad??"  The guy shouted "but it's a great song", Brian thanked him, then laughed and said "are you pleased you got that off your chest??"  then you could see what went through his head, he thought "I'm going to have to explain this now".  He told us that most of the time he can happily sing absolutely any song, but sometimes, just occasionally, he really doesn't want to get that sad and he doesn't want to sing it.  There was a full "awwww" from the audience.  He laughed then and said "the interesting thing about that response was that was all women!!  I can look out and see most of the men's faces and they're thinking "oh god no, he's talking about emotions!!!  I'm only here cos she likes him!!!  And his voice is a wee bit too high for a man!!!" he said to a man near the front "I bet you like Bruce Springsteen don't you?  Or someone really manly like that!!!"  LOL.  Then he said "I'll sing it if you want" and a few people said "NO", so he didn't.  I absolutely love that song, but would have hated him to do it if it was going to upset him, I expected Debbie to feel robbed though cos it's one of her faves too, but as we were walking out she said "I'm glad he didn't sing 'Killaloe', it was lovely to see him so happy!"  And she was right, he's always got a glint in his eye, but last night he was really full of beans, he couldn't stop smiling.  Very very nice to see.

Oh one other thing, he was talking about the book he was selling ("lovely mint green cover, goes with everything!!!"  LOL), and he said even if you didn't want to read it, there are some really funny photos of all his hair lengths.  Someone shouted that it looked great now, and he said "you like it like this?"  he said "when a gentleman reaches a certain age he has to make the best of what he's got.  Fellas I'll give you a piece of advice, as you're getting older, just think George Clooney.  Now there's a man who knows how to look good.  Years ago he had all this big hair, but look at him now.  In fact there's an old episode of 'Friends' he was in and he had all this hair and..........god I really can't stop talking tonight can I??  I had a very large cup of coffee earlier!!!  What were we going to do???" and he went back to deciding what to sing!!!!  LOLOL

So, here comes the bit I still can't believe!!!!!!  The concert finished, Brian invited us to "get stuff scribbled on" out in the foyer after he'd dried off and put on the only other set of clothes he hadn't lost "No, NOT pyjamas!!!"  LOL.  We went and queued.  I bought the CD as planned and Mum and I both bought the book about his songs.  When he'd said he'd sing whatever we wanted, Debbie had really wanted to request 'Give my regards to Broadway' but hadn't as she wasn't sure he'd be able to remember it seeing as he's never actually recorded it apart from for that New York prgramme.  In the queue she told me she was going to ask him if she'd shouted it, would he have been able to do it.  We got to the front, I went first, thanked him for a great concert, he signed my stuff (I only asked him to do the book but when he took the CD out of my hand I was hardly going to argue was I??), thanked me for the compliment and for coming and told us it was lovely to see us.  Debbie said "can I ask you something?" Brian said "you can ask me absolutely anything tonight!!"  So she asked would he have known the song?  And he burst into "Give my regards......" at the top of his voice, JUST FOR US!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  He stopped after two lines and said "Probably!  I'd have had a good go anyway".  Debbie assured him she'll ask him next time and he promised he'll do it if she does. 

Then he said "have you seen me do that one with Michael Ball then?" [We're big MB fans, in fact him covering 'Short life' and then Brian helping him write his first ever songs were the reason we found Brian in the first place - I must thank him next time I see him!!!!]  we said yes, he said "oooo we love Michael Ball, have you got all his CDs?"  "Yes" "Even the ones I'm on??"  I said "Especially those!!!"  He said "we sing 'Silent Night' together on his Christmas album", Mum said "yes we know, it's beautiful" and he thanked her and said again "we love Michael Ball".  Then Mum asked him when we'd get the next Fergal book and told him she loved the first two.  He promised it'll be very soon, he said they're almost there, it's at the publishers and will be out next year.  He told us this is the last installment and I said "You'd better be nice to him!!!!"  He laughed and said "ahhh you'll have to wait and see!!".  By this time I felt like we'd been hogging him for quite long enough so we thanked him again and started to move away, he thanked us again for coming, promised to see us soon and we left.  With the biggest set of stupid grins across our faces you've ever seen!!!!!!!  And they lasted all the way home!!!

He's just so lovely isn't he?  All that talent and yet he's so humble
and modest.  He's a very special man.  Mum reckons ADORABLE is the only word for him.  Debbie's verdict I thought was lovely and she's absolutely right.  She said "when you come out of a Michael Ball concert you feel like you've seen a slick, very professional concert.  When you come out of Brian's you feel like you've spent the evening with him!!"

We quite enjoyed it...can you tell???????  LOLOL