An evening with Simon Burke Nov. 2010

What could be better than a concert with a brilliant Entertainer? A concert with said brilliant Entertainer in the intimate setting of a high class bar in the newly renovated 5-star-plus Savoy Hotel in London. In a setting that elegant audiences are treated to a series of shows provided by stars from the West End –¬† this is bound to be a success. So when Simon Burke signed with Private Drama to entertain in Prince Charles’ favorite hang-out, the Beaufort Bar, I was there. Of course. Nothing to do with the fact that I adore Simon’s talent … ūüėČ

While the hotel is actually a bit too florid for my taste, the Beaufort Bar itself is very classy, lots of wood and comfy seats, a bit minimalistic art deco – and a great piano. The perfect setting for a perfect evening – and it turned out to be more than just a night to be remembered. First of all, Simon Burke looked fabulous in a dark grey suit and a classical evening shirt. And his voice was soaring when he sang “I am a man”, his starter. Charming, witty and eloquent he shared stories of his professional life to tie over from one song to the next and the first set ended all too soon. During the second set he even included the audience and – amongst songs like Empty Chairs, All I Care About is Love, Edelwei√ü, and other musical hits of his wide and illustrious career – a bluesey number that was absolutely brilliant and awesome.

That he came out to chat with his fans – standing ovations were of course a given – after the second set was just icing on the cake and the perfect ending to an amazing evening. I definitely hope to see more of Simon Burke soon – no matter if it’s musical or drama – this multitalented man is born for the stage and yet still grounded and down to earth, he’s worth the trip to London and more!

 

John Barrowman in concert – and me there! Oct 2010

Yes, I am a fan. Yes, I adore John Barrowman. And yes, I would follow him even to somewhere nasty and cold if necessary. I didn’t have to. I went to such brilliant destinations like Oxford (an amazing, upbeat little town and the perfect kick off of both his and my tour), Cambridge (another brilliant town!), London (The Royal Albert Hall – everybody gave 200 percent. John probably 300; and even the audience was in top form and gave it their all) and finally Glasgow. I saw 8 shows, (and had to back out of Cardiff because I felt like death warmed over spending the time taking meds and sleeping. sob)

So, aside from all that and my personal yuk-experience when the tyre of my car blew out – it was fantastic, fantastic, fantastic!

That man has an incredible energy-level and it’s absolutely amazing how he manages to keep up these high octane performances till the very end of not only every show, but the whole tour! And yet he did! He interpreted songs from his last, self titled CD as well as songs from his show Tonight’s the Night, he added some just to have fun (like the totally hilarious “Man, I feel like a woman” with his two dancers in flimsy drag). And the further into the run of concerts they were, the more racy some of the jokes, some of the outfits became (the dancers usually lost their dresses and stood there in perfectly fine black undies, but just once they had on strings – and very nice arses they showed off. Or the size of the fake penis one of the dancers wore to his Spider Man outfit – it seemed to get bigger and bigger every time he did that number…)

What was very interesting for me tho: during the run of shows I was privileged to watch  I had the chance to check John from different sides (stay with me on that, of course I watched John all the time, but if you see him from different seats, you pick up on some details a one time watcher would probably miss). To me it was amazing how very in control John was the whole time. On stage  nothing happened without him noticing Рthere were small signs with his hand that gave away changes of key or a stop or a go on for the melody Рall the while he was singing with an enormous concentration and passion. The interaction between him and his Musical Director, Matt Brind, was almost osmotic, there were no words needed between the two of them.

And the way John treated his orchestra, his equally brilliant dancers and Jodie Prenger was full of warmth and friendship and professional admiration. so all in all – it was a joy to watch him more than once and I would have loved to follow him (like Iris, the marvellous photographer, who managed to catch so many shows!!) even longer.

++++

The only drawback – as it often is – were the fans. Well, of course not all of them – just a tiny minority who nevertheless managed to spoil it for the rest of us.

There¬† is a growing sense of entitlement some people (whom I do not even want to call fans) display. They “demand” certain actions from a writer, an actor; they “suggest” things and get angry to the point of making vile accusations when they are not heard and they gang up on fans who try to keep a calm sense of reality going.

Therefore and in the light of a certain post on the barrowman group (where a person¬† complained that John didn’t stop in the cold after an exhausting concert to sign her shit)¬† and certain behaviour displayed out there (some idiot thought it was hilarious to throw a tube of KY jelly onto the stage and then complained that manager Gavin Barker didn’t like that… nobody but her did, but then she didn’t realise that) I felt the need to post something:
No actor (insert here: writer, director, producer, singer, entertainer, person of public interest) owes us anything aside from what they “promised”, i.e. a concert, playing in a show, delivering what they are paid for. That some (most) actors go out of their way to satisfy their followers is wonderful, it’s a treat and it’s marvellous, but it is NOT something they HAVE to do. Most actors see the interaction with their fans as additional publicity work and will try to sign, say a couple of words and be friendly. If they don’t, they have their reasons, be it that they have a child in their arm (John Simm apparantly got bashed online because he wouldn’t sign something when he carried one of his kids) or they are sick or they are simply exhausted.

Just because John¬† has gone out of his way to accomodate his fans doesn’t mean he can do it every time! It has been announced¬† that he has to watch his health. I find it quite rude (to be polite) to voice disappointment at him not signing, when that was ruled out in the first place. I also – but this is another thing that bugs me deeply – find it incredibly outrageous to approach actors (again: insert …) when they are doing something in private (and yes, John has often said that he doesn’t mind, but still, I don’t feel good about such behaviour, which might be my mainland European upbringing) or – which I think is the worst – to follow actors (insert…) even to their homes, to “check if they’re there” and leave something on their doorstep.¬† That’s creepy and despicable and actually something that’s prohibited by the law!

This leads to only one thing: every actor will sooner or later have (and I steal these words from a dear friend of mine) to employ a 250 pound butt ugly bruiser who keeps the fans away. I don’t want that to happen – not with John who is so approachable, nor with any actor I know.

Therefore please rethink the things you’d LIKE to do and put yourself in the shoes of the person you want to address: would you want someone demand things from you? Would you want someone to accost you when you’re having dinner with a friend, or family? Would you want someone circle your house? Then take a step back and perhaps not do it. Rather donate some money to one of John’s brilliant charities – I did and I’m proud of it.

Thank you for letting me rant a bit.

ps: and yes, I have names and proof of what I wrote.¬† The fun thing is: one of the actual culprits congratulated me on my post. She obviously wasn’t even aware that it was herself that had behaved in a less than stellar way…