Sunday 27th June 2010
Wow, two legends on one bill. So pleased and excited to be able to grab a ticket up close to Michael McDonald and Al Green at the O2.
report to follow…
Wow, two legends on one bill. So pleased and excited to be able to grab a ticket up close to Michael McDonald and Al Green at the O2.
report to follow…
Remembered a mate saying that he really liked Lady Gaga, so I booked tickets for her latest concert at the O2.
report to follow…
It’s the second of two back-to-back nights at the O2, with the Black Eyed Peas taking centre stage again.
Voted in the General Election, before heading off to the O2. There was just enough time to eat a pretty tastless hotdog, prior to Cheryl Cole performing Fight For Your Love. I still find the irony of the song hard to stomach. Unlike the previous night, this time around will.i.am joined Cheryl on stage for 3 Words. Even though there were hundreds of screaming kids out to see Cheryl, I had the urge to shout out No More, instead of the usual Encore.
Once again, the Black Eyed Peas transported themselves into the O2 Arena, cracking off with Let’s Get It Started, before entertaining their fans to Rock That Body, Meet Me Halfway and Don’t Phunk With My Heart.
Time for a few solo performances, including Fergie with the excellent Glamorous. will.i.am, with his sensational i.am.robot DJ set, entered the stage, pumping out tune after tune, and in turn enthralling his audience. These included American Boy, Don’t Stop Till You Enough, Thriller, Jump Around, OMG, Smells Like Teen Spirit, Sex Is On Fire and Sweet Dreams.
The Black Eyed Peas rocked the house with Don’t Lie, Shut Up, Pump It and Where Is The Love?, culminating into a superb finale of Boom Boom Pow and I’ve Got A Feeling. The Black Eyed Peas were sensational and I’m so glad I had the chance to see this extavanganza twice in 48 hours!
It’s the first of two back-to-back nights at the O2, with the Black Eyed Peas taking centre stage.
While queuing for a bite to eat, an announcement was made over the tannoy that Cheryl Cole would be coming on in 15 mins. Seconds later, a girl rushed out, casually telling her friends that the supporting act was already on. Quick decision. Food or Cheryl? Sadly, food lost out, taking our seats just in time for the last few bars of Fight For Your Love. To be honest, every time I hear that song I can’t help but imagine that Rufus Hound is dancing to it.
Cheryl Cole sang a few songs, but to be honest I’m not familiar with most of them. I’d recognised Parachute and 3 Words, the latter being a duet with will.i.am, although it did feel weird that he didn’t join her on stage, but then again it was the Black Eyed Peas opening night in London, so it made sense to stay backstage.
From the moment the Black Eyed Peas transported themselves into the O2 Arena, it was obvious that this was going to be a spectacular gig. Let’s Get It Started kicked off the show, followed soon after by the sensational Rock That Body, Meet Me Halfway and Don’t Phunk With My Heart.
A cool Freestyle rap by will.i.am and solo performances by Apl.de.ap and Taboo got the crowd going, as did Fergie with her performance of Glamorous. The Black Eyed Peas spared no expense in thrilling their audience with a spectacular show including a motorbike ride high above and across the O2. Up next with an i.am.robot DJ set was will.i.am, pumping out an eclectic array of tunes from American Boy, Thriller and Jump Around to Smells Like Teen Spirit, Sweet Child o’ Mine and Sweet Dreams.
The Black Eyed Peas rocked the house with Don’t Lie, Shut Up, Pump It and Where Is The Love?, culminating into a superb finale of Boom Boom Pow and I’ve Got A Feeling. A fantastic show and so pleased I’d booked tickets to see The Black Eyed Peas again on the following day!
The Channel 4 Comedy Gala, in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital, brought together an unprecedented wealth of talent from the world of comedy and beyond.
The O2 was packed out, in anticipation of ‘a 3 hour comedy relay’. Each comedian appearing for this worthy cause had approximately 3-5 minutes on stage, performing a mixture of old and new material. With a great view near the stage, Stomp kicked off the show rolling out Alan Carr from one of their dustbins. After warming-up the audience, the comedy baton was passed to Jason Manford, Jo Brand and Sean Lock.
Jonathon Ross then took over presenting duties, introducing Kevin Bishop and Patrick Kielty. After a short video message from Ricky Gervais, Wossy managed to convince the audience to shout out the C word in unison. I wonder if that will make the DVD cut. Rob Brydon and Gok Wan followed, with a pre-recorded Kevin Bishop routine, before introducing Andy Parsons and Mark Watson.
A few boos as Katie Price and Alex Reid entered the stage, soon turned to cheers as they introduced Michael McIntyre, who was subsequently chased off stage as he mimmicked the cage fighter. After a short interval, Bill Bailey accompanied by Kevin Eldon, performed a superb musical routine.
The mis-matched Christine Blakely and Facejacker’s Terry Tibbs eventually paved the way for Jack Dee. He humourously destroyed many of the performers backstage, before announcing Shappi Khorsandi onto the stage. The adorable Catherine Tate’s Nan joined in with the action, before introducing Noel Fielding. James Corden’s Smithy and Ruth Jones’s Nessa were up next before passing the baton to John Bishop.
David Mitchell took over presenting duties, in advance of the appearances of Jack Whitehall and Rich Hall. The comedy finale featured Jack Dee welcoming Lee Evans onto the stage. At the end of his performance, Jack Dee gave Lee Evans a Channel 4 award for outstanding comedy. He accepted it and immediately put it up for auction, with one member of the audience offering £5,000.
It was a superb night of relentless comedy, with a long-list of exceptional performances. The Channel 4 Comedy Gala was an outstanding success, raising over £800,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital. A big thank you goes out to everyone involved on putting together such a great event.
What’s next, Darts at Wembley Stadium? Well for now we’ll have to make do with the expected 10,000 fans for the first night of the new Premier League season at The O2.
In recent years, Premier League Darts has gone from strength to strength, adding more and more fans along the way. So much so, it’s now able to stage an event at the impressive O2. Only 2 of the 6 of us actually made it to the event, which meant we ended up with a front row table to ourselves.
Unlike at Alexandra Palace, the tables were really spaced out. Personally I would have added a few more rows of tables and had less people in the seats miles away from the stage. Not to pack them in like at Ally Pally, but enough for more people to get closer to the action. And another thing, unlike Wembley and Alexandra Palace, it was freezing in there, which should help Barney and The King.
First up was Ronnie Baxter (No. 6) against Terry Jenkins (No.5). The Rocket has been around since the BDO days, so it was no surprise that he was taking photos from the stage at this historic event. The match itself was tight, with draw specialist The Bull clawing his way back to earn a 7-7 draw.
Next up was Mervin King (No. 4) and wildcard entry Adrian Lewis (No. 7). Much is expected from Jackpot this season, as among all the players, he has the most potential to be a star in the sport. But like Jimmy White at Snooker, the worry is he may not fulfil the great talent he has been blessed with. King on the other hand is a real battler and is throwing better than he’s ever thrown. A good match entailed with King just coming out on top 8-5.
Time for a repeat of last year Semi-Final between Raymond van Barneveld (No. 2) and James Wade (No. 3). The Machine came out on top and then went on the lift the trophy, that Taylor had held for the four previous years it was staged. This time around Barney was up for the challenge and triumphed 8-5.
The final match was a repeat of The World Championship Final staged 6 weeks earlier between Phil Taylor (No. 1) and wildcard entry Simon Whitlock. There was a possibility that The Power was going to miss out due to a virus, but not only turned up, pretty much destroyed The Wizard 8-3. It seems The Power really want HIS trophy back.
Loads of fun at the Darts and The O2 proved a good venue. Being colder than other venues probably did help Barney and The King. However the performance of the night was from The Power, even though he was far from 100%. Great start to the tournament, and next up for me is a visit to the Brighton Centre for week 6 in the Premier League season. Can’t wait!
Bill Bailey is a musician who happens to be rather good at comedy, and his Remakable Guide To The Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall had almost near perfect reviews. I missed that performance, but thankfully I got tickets for the O2 show.
WIth an excellent view just a few rows from the stage, Bill Bailey entered the arena, supported by the BBC Concert Orchestra, accompanied by Academy Award winning conductor Anne Dudley.
It was immediately evident that this was going to be a good night. An educational experience expertly expressed using comedy and music. Many have attempted musical comedy in the past, but few succeed in getting both aspects right. Bill Bailey manages to combine the elements superbly, and in doing so, is able to put together a master class performance.
Bill Bailey covered music from 70s cop shows including Starsky and Hutch and news themes including ITN News. He managed to pull off the Dr Who Theme Tune slowed down as Belgian Jazz and Match of the Day as a Jewish Folk Song. He showed how Bassonists had an urge to play Bee Gees tunes at all times and how Trombones play a part in Cockney music. He even managed a great musical routine with Insect Nation.
The array of musical instruments on show was a pure delight, from the usual suspects like the Guitar and Piano to the hilarious off-the-wall routine utilising the Alpine Bells. The audience was in full admiration of Bill Bailey and there was a great rapour between the two.
Bill Bailey is a genius in his genre. The best advise is to buy it on DVD/Blu-ray, of which I have already done. It’s interesting, fun and remarkably clever. Considering it’s educational too, maybe it should form part of the musical curriculum at schools too!
I’m seriously not stalking Michael McIntyre, having seen him already on tour at the Trent FM Arena and Wembley, but the guy puts a smile on face and leaves me no option but to book tickets again!
Once again, a quick song and dance in the British Music Experience Museum was becoming a ritual. Luckily, the Bee Gees vocal failed to record. The again, 4 of us crammed into a small area dancing to ‘Staying Alive’ by The Bee Gees was good fun. This was preceded by 3 of us attempting Happy Monday’s ‘Step On’. That routine for anyone watching looked like 3 escapees from an Institution.
Our floor seats were excellent this time around, with just 3 rows from the stage. And what a difference that makes, especially as binoculars were a requirement during the Wembley show. Michael McIntyre came on stage and immediately ripped into a girl who for some reason or another refused to sit down.
Of course, having seen the show twice already, most of the material was as expected, but still made me laugh. I think it’s the sense of knowing what’s coming and the anticipation that everyone around you will be cracking up in a second or two. He covered the snooker action, morning breath, bullshit wine production, pausing VHS tapes, dragon’s den, anti-wrinkle creams, buying shoes, naked men in changing rooms to name but a few topics.
As the show was nearing Christmas, he performed a superb festive routine that wasn’t part of the previous shows. Once again, Michael McIntyre excelled and having seats up close made the experience even more enjoyable. His original tour was always going to take something special to top it, but this came close and hopefully in 2010, he’ll raise the bar even further.
My very own Stevie Wonder ‘European Mini-Tour’ came to end with another performance back at the O2, London. And probably for the first time in my life I was lost for words, but not for reasons I thought possible.
The previous show at the O2 received mixed reviews. Fans of Stevie’s music enjoyed the show, whilst fans of Stevie’s hits enjoyed the hits. The feeling was that this show would be no different. We took our floor seats again, just 3 rows further back than last time out. However, we’d lost the massive dancing area, gained by having front row seats.
The concert was about to begin, when I spotted someone who looked vaguely familiar. After moments of deliberation, I had a feeling it was Milton Hardaway, Stevie Wonder’s brother. I instantly jumped out my seat and walked (quickly) to catch him up. Not really knowing what to do once I’d caught up with him. I tapped him on the shoulder and asked “are you Stevie Wonder’s brother?”. At first, he wasn’t really sure what to make of me and my sudden approach. “I was at your birthday party at the Globen in Stockholm”. He smiled. “Actually, this is my 6th night, as I’ve also been to Birmingham, Manchester, Stockholm, Paris and now the 2nd time at the O2”. You could now see in his eyes a certain element of surprise.
Milton then asked “Are you going to the shows in Birmingham [Oct 3rd] and Manchester [Oct 4th]?”, replying with “Unfortunately, this is my last one, as I didn’t get tickets”. At this point, I thought I was taking up too much of his time, but amazingly he was now the one asking all the questions. I’m not one to feel star struck by any personality, as we’re all humans at the end of the day, but I could tell I was starting to feel a bit nervous. Probably the feeling of being in a quiz, where your life depended on you answering the next question correctly. Stupid really as they were all simple questions.
This is best described when Milton asked “Where are you sitting?”. I looked round and said “er D Block, 3rd row, down there”. Why oh why didn’t I just give my seat number, rather than mumbling whilst pointing to a block in the distance? Who knows, by simply pointing to a vague area, I may have out on the opportunity to get VIP tickets to a show, meeting Stevie Wonder back stage or even getting a mention at the O2. In any case, I met and had a photo taken with Milton Hardaway!
And now to Milton’s brother, Stevie Wonder. Once again, Aisha brought her father on to the stage, whilst performing All Blues by Miles Davis, showcasing his Harmonica skills. Then straight into As If You Read My Mind, Master Blaster, All I Do, Did I Hear You Say You Love Me and Knocks Me Off My Feet.
Stevie Wonder then performed ‘futuristic renditions’ of London Bridge is Falling, Fool On The Hill, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, I Can’t Get Your Satisfaction and People Make The World Go Round. A storming performance of Higher Ground followed, before introducing his band with Chick Corea’s Spain and continuing with Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing, Visions, Living For The City, Part-Time Lover, Overjoyed and Lately.
Aisha’s solo I’m Gonna Laugh You Right Out Of My Life, with Stevie taking over with My Cherie Armour. Joss Stone then joined on stage to duet on Signed Sealed Delivered I’m Yours. He closed with performances of Sir Duke, I Wish, Isn’t She Lovely, You Are The Sunshine Of My Life, I Just Called To Say I Love You, Superstition including So What The Fuss and finally As.
Another great show for lovers of Stevie Wonder’s vast back catalogue. One friend mentioned, that Visions was phenomenal. I was left with the impression others left enjoying part of the concert, as not all the songs featured were on their greatest hit CD. Whilst I never got to hear any live songs I hadn’t heard before, I did hear an enjoyable and well thought out UK medley of tunes, a snippet of So What The Fuss and of course, above all else, I met Milton Hardaway!
Following the shows at the NIA and MEN Arena earlier in the week, I was really looking forward to going to the O2, especially as we had floor seats this time around.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect, as this was the first visit to the O2. I was hugely impressed. I don’t think I have ever seen so many restaurants and bars in one place. When you enter the O2 arena itself, you get the sense that you are in a mini-stadium with a roof. Whilst not as close as A block, our front row seats in D block, gave us ample space to dance away.
To my great satisfaction, Stevie Wonder opened again with half the songs from Hotter Than July. Before the tour, I was hoping just to hear one of these, but to get 5 each night was more than I could have hoped for.
As with previous shows, Stevie took time out to address the crowd, in respect to the passing away of his mother. Not quite sure what the crowd at the O2 made of his pain. But from my perspective, it was once again difficult to hear, considering the parallels we both went through in 2006.
Stevie Wonder sang the usual collection of obscure and hit songs that I’d heard earlier in the week. I was delighted that he also performed We Can Work It Out, the outstanding Lately and one of my all time favourites Golden Lady. And just for fun, he also played a rendition of London Bridge is Falling Down!
Unlike the NIA and MEN Arena shows, I left with the feeling of slight disappointment. This had nothing to do with Stevie Wonder’s performance, as he was outstanding. The O2 was lacking slightly in atmosphere. Maybe the sound wasn’t as loud as it should have been or maybe large parts of the crowd turned up expecting to see him just perform his greatest hits. It was as if half the crowd had never even heard of Visions or All I Do before. I guess they were pleased when he sang I Just Called To Say I Love You and Signed Sealed Delivered, I’m Yours.
All said and done, it was another great experience. I got to see Stevie Wonder again, had much more space available to dance and was fortunate to hear Lately and Golden Lady live!