Tuesday, 5 May 2009


3/5/09, O2 Arena

3 hrs. My first ever proper rock concert. And pretty spectacular it was too.

We got the boat from Waterloo Pier (because the Jubilee Line was shut). Queuing up to get on I realised my mental image of rock concert audiences (viz, young) needed rethinking. Ms Turner is nearly 70 and the audience reflected that: mostly folk in their 40s, 50s and 60s.

Even so, security at the O2 took the tops off our water bottles, presumably to make them less effective as missiles. Did we look the water-throwing sort?

It started 15 minutes late and didn't look full, though when the lights went up in the interval there was scarcely an empty seat. We'd been due to see her in March but she'd cancelled, due to illness. But tonight she was in fine form: impossible to believe she's that old, so strong is her voice, so dazzling her charisma, so energetic her stage presence.

No expense had been spared on the production, which included a seven piece band, four female dancers (the band, when introduced near the end, got surnames; the girls first names only), two female backing singers (one with an absolute belter of a voice) and four male breakdancers (or three break-dancers and a man-mountain) as an occasional novelty act. There was a huge set by Mark Fisher with lots of hydraulics and pyrotechnics and immensely elaborate lighting, and a six camera TV operation (two behind the sound desk, mid-arena; one restlessly tracking left to right and back again in front of the stage; three hand-held on stage) relaying the pictures to big screens on either side of the stage.

And now over to D for a blow-by-blow/song-by-song account of the concert itself.

(copy to come)

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