A Concert To Kirsty sold out extremely quickly (Two days in fact). The line-up was mega you had Alison Moyet, Andrea Corr, Amy MacDonald, Billy Bragg, Ellie Goulding to name but a few. So I arrived at 2.45pm expecting there to be quite a few more people there. Turns out I was the only one. There was someone else that joined me a couple of minutes later and there were people hanging round the backstage door to get items signed. The thought of being at the front was an exciting prospect. So when sitting down I saw Andrea Corr arrive who signed items and had photos taken, Ellie Goulding (who people were following to get stuff signed but Ellie was clearly in a rush), Kim Wilde and Phil Jupitus. I would of liked to have met Ellie for a little chat, but hey I can’t expect that every time I see her. The four hours waiting went by so fast and as expected the concert was over in a flash. The doors then opened I went in and the worst thing that could happen happened. Instead of ripping off stubs on tickets they have to scan them in. Only the scanner scanning in the standing side kept on saying the tickets were invalid. So security then halted everyone from going in. Some people went inside and that is when I was thinking come on hurry up. I had been queuing at 3pm to get to the front and it seemed that thought was slipping away from me. About 5 minutes later the problem was then sorted meaning I could go in and get the spot I wanted. Another reason I arrived early was due to what was happening in Soho Square earlier I thought people would arrive after that had finished.
The concert which kicked off at 8pm actually felt like a celebration of Kirsty’s life. For those who don’t know Kirsty tragically lost her life in 2000 after she got hit by a speedboat and instantly died from her injuries. What made the evening even more poignant was the fact it would have been MacColl’s 51st birthday. Let’s start with the absentees on the night they included both Claire Maguire (who pulled out because of illness) and Johnny Marr. There was a surprising but expected absentee. Even host Phil Jupitus told the crowd he would be disappointed if he turned up. This was The Pogues front man Shane MacGowan. Apparently he pulled out on the day and was still in Dublin. So the show started at 8pm and was split into two parts. I had been guessing prior who would sing what, who will sing her biggest songs. I kind of guessed Billy Bragg would sing A New England and Shane MacGowan would sing Fairytale. But with Shane pulling out that idea went out of the window. Phill Jupitus was the compere of the evening and things kicked off with Omar Puente whom was joined by Eddi Reader. The first half of the gig wasn’t as strong as the second half. What I am getting act with the big names that the younger fans will know of were in the second half of the show. Still the first half for me was fantastic. The Kirsty MacColl band were amazing. The majority of the artists performed one Kirsty song each, some even performed two. Stars of the first half included James Walsh from Starsailor, Mary Coughlan, Brooke Supple, Helen Boulding, Brian Kennedy, Jackie Clune and Billy Bragg. Mary Coughlan performed her unique take on Bad. The song was slightly dark in tone. Before Brooke Supple came on Jupitus introduced Helen Boulding because there was a gap in the schedule. Still I quite enjoyed Brooke Supple and her take on Days was very unique and she was playing her own acoustic guitar. There was actually a folk feel to the song and when it was over there was a rapture of applause. When Irish born Brian Kennedy sung Don’t Come The Cowboy With Me, Sonny Jim the song turned into one massive sing along. The final artist of the first half was Billy Bragg. Billy had a cold so the microphone was changed especially for him. Well his performance was passionate and the two songs that were sung were Free World and A New England which he originally wrote. What made the performance of A New England even more special was the fact Bragg sung the two additional verses Kirsty wrote. Afterwards Phill Jupitus told the crowd the first part was over and urged everyone to get a drink.
The second half opened up with a performance of Fifteen Minutes by Phill Jupitus. He actually sang the song at the Kirsty tribute concert in 2002. Afterwards he says F*** You Simon Cowell when sticking both of his middle fingers up. Ellie Goulding sung Soho Square and it sounded amazing, perfect as well. Each artist on the night brought out the lyrics with them but Ellie didn’t need the sheet. There were two performances of They Don’t Know by Andrea Corr and Kim Wilde. Both versions sounded completely different. During the song the audience shouted out “baby” at the appropriate moment in the song. Eddi Reader and Boo Hewerdine renewed their partnership for a sparkling rendition of Dear John. The two songs by Alison Moyet were magical. She gave a stellar performance Head which has a jazz feel and Walking Down Madison. Catherine Tate surprised me her voice was incredible. Catherine sung In These Shoes and sung the Spanish bits at ease. After singing Tread Lightly Scottish born singer Amy MacDonald was left with the task of singing Fairytale Of New York. She had already covered it before meaning that this rendition was faultless. Dave Ruffy sung MacGowan’s parts. The speech from Jean (MacColl’s mother) was a touch emotional especially when she said Kirsty is probably looking down on us and is an angel. Ending the night was There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop And Swears He’s Elvis which was sung by Phill Jupitus. There was a real party atmosphere in the air and the artists wh had sung on the night appeared on stage for this song. Once over there were then pictures of MacColl displayed on the projection screen and there was a huge round of applause.
Afterwards I made my way out of the venue having witnessed something truly spectacular. I donated some money to the Music Fund For Cuba and made my way home. It was an amazing night and both halves of the show were fantastic. The fact the high profile names such as Johnny Marr, David Gray and Shane MacGowan did not put a dampener on the night whatsoever. I simply love Fairytale Of New York whenever I hear it, it feels like Christmas is in the air. I won’t be surprised if it makes another re appearance in the charts this December.
Who Sang What (here are some of the songs sung and who sang them):
Alison Moyet – Head
Alison Moyet – Walking Down Madison
Amy MacDonald – Fairytale Of New York
Amy MacDonald – Tread Lightly
Andrea Corr – They Don’t Know
Billy Bragg – A New England
Billy Bragg – Free World
Brian Kennedy – Don’t Come The Cowboy With Me, Sonny Jim
Brooke Supple – Days
Brooke Supple – England 2 Columbia 0
Brooke Supple – Us Amazonians
Catherine Tate – In These Shoes
Eddi Reader – Dear John
Ellie Goulding – Soho Square
James Walsh – All I Ever Wanted
Kim Wilde – They Don’t Know
Mary Coughlan – Bad
Phil Jupitus – Fifteen Minutes
Phil Jupitus – There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop And Swears He’s Elvis