Lance Horne, First Things Last Jan 30th, ’11

A truly entertaining evening with composer Lance Horne, who gathered West End’s very best to promote his new CD in the Garrick Theatre. Amongst them and foremost – Simon Burke, whose voice shone and set an incredibly high standard. He was just brilliant.

To attend this rather high class gala was a last minute decision – the wonderfully talented and gorgeous Simon Burke had tweeted about it and Beverley and I – already on a theatre crawl – just knew we had to do this; sadly enough we couldn’t make it to Simon’s reading in Camden – but that collided with Ghost Stories, so it was premium seating at the Garrick Theatre for us!

Now I had never heard of Lance Horne before – hanging my head in shame – but therefore I was in for a pleasant surprise: his music is quirky, his lyrics fun (with the exception of the rather drab In The Name Of The Father that came across as a rather morose prayer, but maybe that was just me not liking to start off a fun evening with some strange christian anthem.).

Horne’s guest list was the Who’s who of the London West End, and he brought them all on stage immediately, to sit with him (and every time someone mentioned the CD, they all bent down and held up said CD “available in the Foyer!”): Alan Cumming (who sang “Next To Me”, a song about waking up after a rather rompy night and seeing his beloved lying next to him, therefore guessing it couldn’t have been that bad if he was still … next to him..), Graham Norton – who admitted to not being able to sing but then got us all chiming in at “Haircut”; he really has no voice to speak of, but an incredible stage personality, so it was brilliant to see him live. (how he managed to get through LaCage I will never understand, though), were joined by Norm Lewis who has an extraordinary marvellous voice, and a bunch of seriously talented women – amongst them Cassidy Janson who sang “Hurry Up & Take Your Time”, a bluesy number she was jazzing up brilliantly accompanied by her own pianist, and Meow Meow who in her very revealing three piece (a bra, a corsett and a long skirt) looked as if the dress had been painted on her – marvellous! And her voice matched the outfit!

By that time we were already antsy – We knew that Simon Burke would be cutting it short, making it by tube from Camden to the West End. But by the start of the second half there he was on stage, separately introduced by Horne. He sang The Man In The Starched White Shirt – a song about a terribly repressed gay man (but the sex is great!) who marvels why he isn’t more successful with his relationships (the sex was great!) in his starched white shirt (great sex is just not enough…) – absolutely brilliant. And once again (and I hate to say it like that because I always try not to compare artists – they are all great in their own way and to rate them in any way is always so very subjective, but:) I have to admit: Simon Burke is indeed in a league of his own; the only other artist coming close to his level of mastery of his voice was Norm Lewis who owns a very deep baritone and sounded gorgeous.

Simon Burke though – MARVELLOUS! His voice is so strong, yet he manages to phrase it so delicately. Yes, I am a fan, but his talent makes it so easy to be one! I think I’m speaking for Bev too, when I say we were both in very high spirits – even though there was another rather drab prayer (again from The Center; remind me NOT to go see it should it ever be at the West End) later on. The concert ended with Alan Cumming singing the very satirical “American” from The Strip that had us all in stitches.

*+*+*+*+*+

Now at this theatre crawl I only made it to one stage door – this one. And that was also the highlight of the weekend! We were barely waiting for 15 minutes and the musicians had just left, when Simon came out and VERY graciously signed our programs even though he had to go back inside as they were having a reception there! To think he took the time to greet (and hug, can’t forget the hug!) his fans even though they were already celebrating inside, is just so .. ! He’s such a star! Genuine, warm hearted, talented and gorgeous! I was so happy I’d seen him again.

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