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FEATURE:

November 8, 2018

Children in Need Rocks – 2018.

The SSE Arena, Wembley – 7th.November. By Colin Baker

posted by Mike Walton



Now if you want to read all of this article on the 8 acts that appeared tonight please follow the instructions below:-

To hear about George Ezra - Text 730405 – And donate £5

To hear about George and Rita Ora – Text 730410 – And donate £10

To hear about George, Rita and Tom Odell – Text 730415 – And donate £15

To hear about George, Rita, Tom and All Saints – Text 730420 – And donate £20

To hear about George, Rita, Tom, All Saints and Jess Glynne – Text 730425 – And donate £25

To hear about George, Rita, Tom, All Saints, Jess and Nile Rodgers & Chic – Text 730430 – And donate £30

To hear about George, Rita, Tom, All Saints, Jess, Nile (etc) and Olly Murs – Text 730450 – And donate £50

Finally to hear about George, Rita, Tom, All Saints, Jess, Nile (etc), Olly and Sir Rod Stewart – Text whatever you like because you’re going to hear about it any way!!!!

My thanks go to the lovely Clara Amfo and Fearne Cotton - rest assured your job is in safe hands as “I Was Only Joking” ….

Yes here we were – our maiden trip to a “recording” of a show due to go out (I believe) on Thursday 15th. November when that old classic of “It’ll Be Alright On The Night” came to mind.

I guess all the information given out prior to the event was a bit like a Southern Train timetable – The tickets quoted – Doors 6:00 p.m. Show start Time 7:30 p.m.

Then I get a mail stating Doors 5:00 p.m. Auditorium Access 6:15 p.m. Show Start 7:30 p.m. Finish 10:00 p.m.

Hence slight confusion already – which was added to by the fact you were allowed in shortly after 5:00 – could then obtain a wristband to go to the bar at the back of the building – only to be told at 6:15 – You cannot leave the bar area because the rehearsals were over running.

Okay, I accept it, I’m picky, have another mouthful of water, think of what’s ahead to look forward to and time will be the healer.

Unfortunately our seats were three-quarters of the way back – but when you have a side view, that’s okay you see everything – all be it from a distance – so no photographs of any note.

Now the show – because it’s a recording – it’s stop start – they get things wrong, they do retakes – So I will try and not be too critical.

Nobody actually came on the stage till 7:40 (at the earliest) and the “Compare” (Could have been Steve Sidwell – didn’t quite catch his name) with his flashing jacket – The 20th Century Timmy Mallett – Was there to get the audience cheering – poor jokes etc. but he tried his best I will give him that.

For him of course he was given “Q’s” that somebody may have been about to come on stage - only for that not to be the case. So not exactly the easiest job in the world.

With things already behind the clock – Clara and Fearne were announced but too early – they would appear five minutes later to ask us to be as quiet as possible when they told the stories of young children’s causes and how to make donations.

Then a young girl from Southampton aged 16 came on stage who is part of The Rickshaw Challenge (from Calais to Salford) – she is “a dwarf” (her words not my description) and all the complications that come with that and three major painful operations she has had in her life to date was rather moving.

We were told old classic covers would be sung as well as legendary hits. Now my problem is I bought a radio that was not Year 2k compatible – so I guess I was at a bit of a disadvantage when all these up and coming stars sing their latest “hit”, I’m left tapping my feet and simply listening (And wondering why you need half a dozen dancers around you as distractions!). We were also told some of what we saw on the night would not go out on the TV show the following week.

Now once you have made your donations – here’s how it panned out ….

First up was George Ezra – His cover was of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colours” – plus his own song which I have no idea what it was – rating “B-”

Olly Murs came on next – he of course is a bit of a regular and sung two maybe three songs with a bit of a medley – his appearance was clearly to get the crowd up more – but he would return later to sing a Justin Timberlake song (Don’t ask me what – just not my genre!!) – rating “A”

Rita Ora appeared in almost Annie Lennox feathered wings – after her own song she sung George Michael’s Freedom – rating “B”

Tom Odell was up next – a pianist I liked his song – but for the life of me I can’t remember who’s song he covered (Sorry – maybe they will show it next week) – rating “A-“

Then came All Saints – I personally thought they struggled to get the crowd involved – their set appeared to cover three songs – Their classic – Never Ever. Plus the cover of The Police’s Message In A Bottle.

There was then an interval which was scheduled for 15 minutes …. But it was already 9:25 – so the 10:00 finish was never going to happen.

There had been a video clip of back stage with Rod and George Ezra and Fearne asking if he had got any tips from such a legend … I’m sure they will show this next week as Rod as always was humorous in conversation.

At close to 9:45 the act we were waiting for re-started the show – and no matter what anyone might say – the whole audience appeared to cheer and got to their feet …. Although not overly surprised – it was somewhat unsettling seeing our man hobble onto the stage with his surgical boot and a crutch as well – You could almost visualize him going back to his roots and re-branding as “Long John Rod”!!!!

He would say he has recently done 6 shows since the accident (which was about 6 weeks ago now) – but a somewhat harsh acclaim from his original one of “I was playing football with my son and he kicked me!” …

With crutch thrown aside he burst into “Look In Her Eyes” – an absolutely gem of a song that came across perfectly. He would then follow that by the song he always has to sing – Maggie May – I have to be honest here – I’m pretty certain he missed a verse and I’m not that sure he was comfortable on stage on this one – if it wasn’t for the obvious discomfort from his injury they probably would have re-recorded it (in my opinion) – as he always will, he drew J’Anna to the front as she played the mandolin. There was no real extension to the song as we have been accustomed to and it looked like he was in need of that crutch again as his natural effervescent style to dance and move around the stage perhaps was causing pain – As someone that still plays football into their 60’s I can vouch – any injury does take it’s toll and needs longer periods of rest – I can only assume that is what Rod requires to get himself fully mobile again – I sincerely hope that what he appeared to dismiss as a precautionary measure (with that boot) when he appeared on the One Show on 1st. October is not something far more problematic. Never the less my rating has to still be an “A+”.

I guess the slightly bizarre evening continued as Jess Glynne appeared – She sang her own number (with dancers!) All I Am – only for them to say – “Really sorry we have got all the lighting wrong” we will need to re-record – This took a good 5 minutes to correct and after Clara and Fearne introducing her a second time – She once more sung All I Am – which forgetting the dancers, I did like – She then went up in my estimation further by saying I’m going to sing a song that I’ve loved since a child – Otis Redding’s Hard To Handle – A true classic – she gets the “A” rating from me for that.

Now Olly Murs came back on and did his Justin Timberlake song – and as they went through their “filling” stage before the next act we looked at our watches – 10:30 – And started to think like Tottenham fans at Wembley playing against Barcelona – do I really want to be here when the majority leave the arena? – Knowing things probably wouldn’t get any better – So I’m sorry to say if you donated to hear about Nile Rodgers & Chic – you can have your money back – because like you – I can watch it for the first time next Thursday.

When faced with probably an hour and a half trip home – tough decisions have to be made even though they may not be “Chic” ….

In summary seeing Rod sing Look In Her Eyes was worth the entrance fee – I can’t imagine what it’s like to have his lifestyle and be as incapacitated as he appeared – maybe more will be aired on Friday’s Loose Women show – if I get in, I’d love to ask him the question on whether his injury is healing as quickly as he originally anticipated. No doubt like all of us, I wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to him performing in the UK next year.

Review By Colin Baker
Photo Penny Lancaster
Montage Tommy Kevitt


© 2018 SMILER Magazine



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