Hartlepool, NE England......
This is a long overdue review of a fantastic
night out. It was June 2nd at his Sage concert
in Gateshead. It was my first experience of Brian
in person, and I wrote this for my American friend who
couldn't be there herself and wanted all the gory details,
so apologies for it's length, but she persuaded me this
was a good place to come and gush.......
evening started out very well - I ate my meal gazing
directly at Brian! Not in a scary stalker kind of way,
I promise!! We just happened to eat in the same place
he and the band did. I was amazed at how handsome he
is - photos and TV really don't do him justice!!
And I was pleased to see he smiles and laughs constantly!!!
And what a smile!!!!! I was hooked long before he set
foot on stage - but when he did he totally blew me away!!!!!
It was a concert unlike any I've been to before.
The stage was black, the backdrop was a plain black
curtain, and all that was on stage were 4 men and an
array of instruments. But from the second Brian opened
his mouth, you didn't need anything else - you were
absolutely captivated!! He opened with 'Now that I know
what I want' - complete with the same pelvic thrust
dance he does on 'Live in Belfast ' as he sings "I'm
gonna give it to you" - that always makes me laugh!!!
And then went straight into another song (sorry - don't
know what!!). Then he started talking, and we all moved
from captivated to absolute adoration!!!!! He's just
so sweet and funny!!! He said, "Now I'm going
to sing a sad song. I do that a lot! In fact if I'm
honest I'm only happy when I'm singing sad songs. I
don't like to admit it, but it's true! Some songs are
disguised as happy......this one starts off sounding
really happy but then oooohhhhhhh!!!!" And then
he sang "Curragh of Kildare" - and he was
After that, he said "It was all going
so well! But our monitors have just gone off."
And one of the other guys said "all the power's
gone". Brian told us there'd been a power surge,
and it was all our fault - we'd obviously got overexcited!
It turned out that the mics still worked, but everything
else had blown. And this was the point where he really
started to show his class! He said "oh well, I'll
just have to sing acoustically", so he borrowed
someone else's mic for his guitar, and he did the most beautiful
rendition of ' Christopher Street ' you'll ever hear!!!
I'm very grateful the power did go - I'm a sucker for
acoustic music done well, and this was done very well
indeed!! They got the instruments working fine, but
I think they struggled with the monitors all the way
through - Brian kept signalling that he couldn't hear
the others - but like I say, he's got talent to spare
- he was incredible!!
I can't remember what order, but he did 'A Better Man',
'The Reason We Are Here', 'Crazy Love', 'Homebird',
'Go With My Heart', 'If You Don't Believe in Me'
and 'Every Song is a Cry For Love'. 'Crazy Love'
was hilarious!! He sang it brilliantly of course, and
encouraged the audience to sing the chorus to him, then
he started talking to us (only kind of singing the words
- he does that a lot!! In fact my sister wondered aloud
whether he ever accidentally does it during normal conversation!!!
LOL) Anyway, he reckons all audiences he ever looks
out at have something in common. Ladies always look
all mellow, and sway happily, and sing along and look
like they're really happy, lost in thoughts about work,
kids and mortgages. And the men all sit like this [mimes
sitting arms folded with a big frown]. "And what
you don't realise is that I can read minds. I can see
all these invisible thought bubbles above all the men's
heads. And the first one always reads "who the
hell is this guy? I'm only here cos she made me come!"
And then that bubble disappears and another one takes
its place, and this one reads "His voice is way
too high for a guy!!!" But hey, I can only work
with what I've got!" The audience cheered appreciatively
and he laughed and said "yeah, and next week on
'Fishing for compliments'....."!!!
Before '...cry for love', he said "I was in a little
place called Athens recently. I tell you I won't forget
that in a hurry! I've never been so rehearsed in my
life!!!" And he did the down on one knee bit in
the 3rd verse - although he laughed and raised his eyebrows
as if to say - see, all that rehearsing paid off!!!!
At one point someone shouted "will you come for
a curry Brian?" to which he laughed, and asked
if we have good curries up here. A man shouted "not
as good as the 'Curry of Kildare' which really amused
him. He said that joke needed to be shared, and repeated
it to everyone. Then he decided he's going to use it
again - in fact was anyone going to Manchester the next
night? One group said yes, and he said "well I
warn you, tomorrow night I'm going to use that joke,
and I'm going to claim I made it up. OK?"
About 10pm , he said "OK, I'll tell you what's
going to happen now - we're going to do another song,
and then we're going to pretend it's the end, we'll
walk off, but really we'll only be standing over there!
And we'll pretend we've got a radio message saying "they're
ripping the seats up and refusing to leave!" You
see, I've done Athens now, I've been spoilt!" Then
they did '...Short life'. It started out sad, but then
he went all rocky with it - I loved it!!!!!
And sure enough, they all went off, then he came back
alone. Everyone started requesting 'Ballad of Killaloe'
- we're not totally sure whether that was what he was
planning on doing anyway, but he did. He introduced
it "you know sometimes you just love someone. You'll
see them in the street or across a room and you just
know that they're the one". Someone shouted "it's
you Brian" and he laughed, and said "oh you
should see me first thing in a morning" to which
she shouted "yes please!!!" That threw him
and he had to turn away while he composed himself!!!
Bless him. Then he got back on track and said, "anyway
sometimes that love is unrequited. Sometimes you love
someone but you realise that they just don't love you
back. And they're never going to. And it's just, like,
oh get over it! So this is my 'get over it' song"!
And then he sang it - and ooohhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!! It
was heartbreaking!!!!!! But at the end he changed it.
After the "Today I drove to Killaloe and I missed
you" he went on to sing "so I changed the
radio station, but unfortunately......." And then
he started singing this song which I adore - 'Dry Your
Eyes' by The Streets........I tell you, it sent shivers
down my spine!!!!!! Then he went on to change the channel
again looking for something happy, but could only find....a
song I don't know so I can't tell you anything about
it except that he said it's by Eddi Reader. Then eventually
he got back on track and did the "pull yourself
together" bit. It wasn't what I was expecting -
but it was breathtaking!!!!!!!!
Then it really was the end, he said "I'm
often asked if I get bored of singing any songs? Well
I don't, cos this next song, tonight is the very first
time I'll sing it here, now, for you. Does that make
any sense? No, probably not. But at least I know what
I'm talking about!" He mentioned George Best's
funeral and how honoured he was to be invited to sing,
and the he did 'You Raise Me Up' a capella - oooooohhhhhhh!!!!!
What can I say??? It was everything you'd expect
it to be and more!!!!!!!!! Amazing!!!!!!!!!
And then he invited us to say hello before we left,
promised to dry off before he came out cos he was "very
damp" and off he went!!!!!!! I hadn't intended
to waste his time, but seeing as he'd asked so nicely......and
to be honest, by that point I was so smitten I'd have
done pretty much anything he'd asked!!!!
So what I
was expecting to be a beautiful, poignant, but slightly
depressing concert (I'd only heard those sad songs previously)
turned out to be one of the best I've ever seen!!!!!
He's beautiful and poignant and all those things, but
such a great entertainer at the same time!!! I definitely
totally underestimated him!!!!!
Do you get the impression I enjoyed it??? LOLOL