It’s autumn and with the falling of leaves there also comes the shedding of inhibitions for fans when they embark on a trip with Entertainer John Barrowman during one of his shows.
And as John certainly knows his fans (and his demographic, it appears) he feeds our every need. There’s stories about his childhood again, lots of pictures to document and prove the hilarious tidbits he gives away, and enough innuendo to fill three two-hour shows and not just one. And that is a VERY good thing, believe me.
But there is also his incredible energy that sweeps the audience off their feet, clapping, singing along and cheering when he starts off in a sparkly blue suit with a medley of all new songs that set the tone for the evening. It’s indeed all about entertaining. The J4 have their moments in the spotlight, well deserved, with a solo number (to give John the time to don yet another of his four – blue, green, purple and red – outfits) and they do sing well and dance even better, and raised the estrogen level among the (mostly) female audience when ripping their clothes off.
Jodie Prenger is a firecracker who’s on stage in the first half with two songs and in the second half with two more songs, a very bluesy rendition of the hit Umbrella amongst it, until she’s reunited with John to do So Close. And as much as I’d have liked to see someone new on stage together with John, I loved every second of Jodie on stage.
Also John’s parents make an appearance in the midst of hilarious stories (probably very well made up) about their private lives, dressed as a construction worker and a sexy police woman – so the logical conclusion was to perform YMCA from the Village People.
One of the highlights of the show – well, for me at least – was an absolutely amazing medley of Eurovision Song Contest winning songs, and a Hollywood medley accompanied by pictures of him with Bob Hope and with Petula Clark whose Downtown started this segment… where John had all the audience singing along.
And then the show was almost over and a last change into a brilliant black suit with sparkly sequins adorned to back and arms and its pink lapels was on the menue, in which John then performed the last few songs that had us all giving standing ovations – which clearly moved him. And when the show finally ended with his anthem I am what I am everybody was VERY happy and in the best of moods.
no such thing. it’s already too cold after the shows, John had a bit of a sore throat and made it out the back door to his car, where his parents and Scott were already at the ready. He drove off while standing up, waving through the open roof and to the cheers of the waiting fans. A wonderful evening, a marvellous memory.
But please don’t expect John to sign after the show – at all three shows I saw he just tried to get home / to a hotel as quickly as possible. He does have his parents with him as they are part of his show, so it’s understandable that he doesn’t want to keep them waiting.
Unfortunately not a great venue was Brentwood – which I actually refuse to call a proper venue and the concert started 20 minutes late. It was a sports hall, where people in the wings were unable to see much of John, the acoustics were a challenge and the security – all tough guys with microphones clasped to their ears just as they saw it on US-TV shows – did NOTHING when a nutty woman walked all the way down to the front of the stage where John was singing to take pictures. John was dealing with the situation admirably, but he shouldn’t have had to deal with this at all. Security btw watched the drama unfold and kept standing at the corners of the so called stage, looking the other way.(the crazy woman fell on her way back to her place, btw – so she was probably drunk, too)
The “venue” was indeed that bad that John felt the need to apologize via twitter afterwards – but it was definitely not his fault at all.
What a difference a day made: I had the pleasure of seeing the third concert, too! This time in the renowned corn exchange in Cambridge, a tried and tested venue with fantastic acoustics and an intimate feel to it that made the show a very special event, indeed. the only mishap that had us all in stitches with laughter though: the fog machine run amok right at the beginning of the show and produced greyness to last the venue a lifetime. Which made John play “Foghorn” while the smoke was slowly vanishing again. hilarious doesn’t even start to cover it.
addendum – the London concert – it was a true joy to watch – the orchestra and John and the J4s were on fire and working together like a well oiled perfected machine, the venue, the renowned Palladium theatre, added to the wonderful “feel” of a masterpiece concert. that the whole gig was also a fun fan convention where people who only met on twitter and via the lists finally came together and had fun was an added bonus. And everybody wanted to be a fly on the wall of the Green Room, a bar in the Palladium, where after the show John continued to entertain his guests, Kai Owen among them.
addendum . Cardiff –
Cardiff is always “special”, the fans learned years ago. it’s “home” to John and he seems to enjoy his time on stage there even more than anywhere else. That said it’s no surprise he filled the huge venue almost to the last seat. The audience was going strong from the beginning, and John once again was on fire, performing and just plainly having fun. Eve Myles was in the audience and recognised immediately by the fans (there was a rumor that Gareth David Lloyd was attending too, but I didn’t spot him at any point, nor did the audience, who immediately crowded around Eve who let them take pictures).
John’s parents milked their scenes until there wasn’t a dry eye in the audience, adlibbing until even John himself broke down in helpless laughter (” I think I peed myself a bit”) which didn’t help…
But the real treat was when some stage hand brought Scott Gill on stage, who at first seemed a bit taken aback by the enthusiasm of the audience, but relaxed as soon as John was holding his hand (together now: awwwwwwwwwwwwww). And then the band started to play Rhinestone Cowboy and the incomparable Mr Gill was “forced” to sing along. It was a brilliant rendering of the song, showing off Scott’s deep voice even tho the first few bars were a bit… a tiny bit off key, but endearingly so. John joined immediately as the “choir” and all went absolutely brilliant and perfect (and obviously rehearsed, even tho they made as if John had just plotted right now) – “now work the audience” and John led Scott to the sides of the stage to woo the audience there – until he finally held the note to which Scott kept on singing. Perfect! Standing Ovation for Scott! and a last send off from John “He’s gonna kill me for that tonight!” LOL
Stage door – we waited. sigh. for hhhoooourrrs it seemed! LOL but we saw Eve and family come out and Gavin leave – they had all been at the small reception held in the venue. Then finally John came out – happy, content but – and that was a new one – absolutely knackered and thanked us for being there and supporting him etc. it was marvellous and I loved every second. So happy I was able to see Cardiff this year…
The set list – well, I’m notoriously bad at that and grateful for any input. that’s what I recalled so far
Celebration (as the intro)
and thanks to the wonderful Jo Julier:
Listen to the music
Eurovision medley: Kisses for Me, Boombangabang, Making your mind up (J4s) Waterloo
Tonight’s the Night
Greatest Day by Take That
You Raise Me Up from Josh Groban
I owe it all to you
And I love you so
the winner takes it all
what about us
So Close with Jodie
I am what I am