Saturday, 22 February 2014

Newton Faulkner – York – Barbican – 19 Feb 2014

Newton Faulkner – York – Barbican – 19 Feb 2014

I met Tracy in York, it’s a beautiful city, I fell in love. Then we went to wetherspoons. Hot dog and chips, vodka and coke, and onion rings, sat at the window by the water side. Was a lovely dinner.

Despite ending up on the end of the front row because the queue had been doubled up and then a free for all, we were in for a great show.

Sam Brookes support slot was great. I fell in love with his voice. And the new album. Breaking blue and James were highlights. And I loved ‘The Design’. Sam explained he wrote it when he first moved to London.  ‘Is my head full of songs I’ve already sung.. is my idea of beauty flawed’

Then it was time for Newton.

1. Where to start
I’ve really taken to this song. Great show opener.

2. Won’t let go
When the music started, it took me back to when Newton used to first perform this song with an old tape recording on a cassette player with a microphone put to it. Made me smile.

3. Long shot
Real crowd pleaser.

4. I need something
“So I played a song of my new album studio Zoo, how many of you have it? *loads scream* Not bad. A few more and I would be wearing shoes. And I might be able to afford a haircut and some shaving equipment… Then I played a song off my second record, which has an actual xray of the metal plate in my wrist that looks a bit like a washing up brush, and then I played a song off my 3rd record, write it on your skin *few cheers* thank you 5 people. And this is a song off my first record”.
I still ADORE this song. Love it so much.

5. I took it out on you
Another great song off album 2.

6. Indecisive
“This is a song”. Lol

7. Treading water
Not a fan of this song. Sorry.

8. Clouds
I LOVE this song. Always have. Always will. It just makes me so happy. Best feeling in the world singing along at the top of your voice to it.

9. Teardrop
Straight into teardrop, before the crowd has even finished clapping. I love how it isn’t expected and silences them.

10. Like I love you (Justin Timberlake cover)
“Can I experiment with you? .. it’s nothing kinky.. I know, try and hide your disappointment”.
Someone shouted can you sing it like an angry posh man, and newton replied “I ordered the pea soup” in a posh accent. Newton said he only covered it because he just wanted to sing ‘I just want to love you baby’.  Was funny.

11. At the seams
“This is my dirty Mic”. I love this song. Always have. ‘as if your life wasn’t hard enough, you chose me’.

12. Don’t make me go there
I really like this song. Definitely has grown on me.

13. Plastic hearts
This is just so much fun live. Sam brookes, Toby, and Newton just going for it.

14. Waiting on you
I love this song. Makes me think of what Newton is saying to his son when I hear it.

15. Losing ground
Great song. Toby is a living genius.

16. Soon
Aww one of my ultimate faves. So pleased to see it in the set list.

17. Pulling teeth
Definitely another crowd pleaser.

18. Write it on your skin
I love this song. SO MUCH FUN. Not sure I like Sam and toby singing harmony though, much more fun when you split the crowd in three and hear them sing it.

“I know this has been a mainly acoustic concert, and I have shelves, and have a cellist and tea, but I don’t see why there can’t be jumping. People in the seats at the top, I will meet you have way, the penalty for your comfort is head-banging”. LOL.


19. Dream catch me
Aww where it all began. I love this song so much. Best sing along song ever.

20. If this is it
So pleased to see this song in the set list again. It’s been missing for years and its one of my faves.

21. Orange skies
Awwww. Lovely last song about home.
Newton introduced the band again and paused before he introduced Beth. Someone shouted ‘Beth’ and Newton joked, I haven’t forgotten her name, I was going for suspense. LOL.
I love how the full band comes together and then the crowd harmonises as well. Beautiful.

After the show we went out the merch stand to have a nosey and Newton came out and decided to do a meet and greet. Damn. Then we had to join the queue we were trying to avoid. Tracy went to speak to Toby and I waited in the queue. I pretty much disowned her. The Girl in front of us was laughing LOL.  Then it got to our turn. He called Tracy ‘Lisa’, Tracy invented a new alter ego, and then Newton was struggling to get the marker pen to take to the shiny deluxe cd sleeve, and I told him to write over his face as an improvement. I shouldn’t be allowed to speak to him. LOL. Whoops. He was adorable to us though. He’s lovely :D

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We grabbed a taxi back to Tracy’s and we were chatting excitedly when I heard notes to a song I can’t not pick out from the very first opening notes, Savage Garden’s Truly Madly Deeply. The taxi driver was adorable and listened to our fangirling and turned the radio up for us. It struck me how two friends, together because of their love of Darren Hayes, could wind up being somewhere that had nothing to do with D, and yet D’s voice be a presence. It was a moment.

All too soon it was time to say goodbye to Tracy, her beautiful house, the beautiful York, and head to Birmingham for show 2 of 5.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Darren Hayes - The Side 2 Tour - 18th Feb 2008

Darren Hayes - The Side 2 Tour - 18th Feb 2008 - Maybe it was just meant to be…
Birmingham - Carling Academy.

This review was written in February 2008 but never posted online.

Its 11:08pm. Feb 18th 2008. I’m sitting on a train to Nottingham that 24 hours ago I wasn’t meant to be on. I’m on the last train home from Birmingham to Nottingham as I have work at 8am. Last night we went to the first Birmingham gig. There was an announcement last night before the gig that tonight’s gig was going to be moved to the club room and not the bar and that more tickets would be on sale. I decided if I could go I would go……So this morning I went to the train station and got a new train ticket for the last train home. Then I went to the box office and bought a ticket for tonight. I’m so tired but the most spontaneous decision of my life was worth it and the £50 it cost me. .And the hassle of telling dad I kinda took a road trip, not just for one day, but two. Whoops.

I’m that sick I should have gone home to bed tonight instead of a spontaneous gig. I’ve got splitting headache and permanent cough.  Do I regret it? No. I have 3 words for you: TRULY MADLY DEEPLY!! 

As soon as the gig ended I ran to the station to get the train. My phone is dead. AGAIN. I’m on the most comfy train ever though. For I minute I thought I was in first class by accident, the table even has a light! No phone sockets though! I never did find the plug socket for the light, must be hidden LOL. I shut my eyes on the train and wished we ended up in Nottingham real soon. Thank god the journey was only an hour as opposed to the normal 1.5 hours.

Anyhoo review…

Monday 18th Feb 2008.

Today started with getting up at a not too unearthly hour after our late night cuppa after the gig last night. We found the others and headed down to Maria’s car. We got out the sat nav and set about finding the car park beside the venue. After finding the street name on the gig ticket we guessed a street number (somewhere in the middle will do, 55!) The sat nav didn’t like the built up area to receive its signal but as soon as we got out into a bit less of a built up area, it calculated a route.  After driving down the middle lane of a three lane road the sat nav decided to tell us were weren’t driving on the road but rather the verge? Lol!

Surprisingly the sat nav took us near enough to the car park and we parked the car, after looking for one of the two free spaces it said were available and walked the whole way down the stairs before finding the lift in the corner! We headed off to the venue to enquire about tickets. I could come back later and get one if I so wished and the girlies picked theirs up they had ordered over the phone the night before. I hadn’t ordered mine yet as I wasn’t sure if it was possible to get a later train home.

We then headed for some much needed breakfast. We found what looked like a decent pub and went in. Hmm… looks ok, prices are reasonable, let’s have a full breakfast. Breakfast was served stone cold, the desert menu did have about 5 options but there were only 2 available. I’m glad I chose the ice cream because the cake looked rather sickly! The female toilets had a sign pointing right (to behind the bar) when they where actually further down on your left. God knows where the mens where! Breakfast was an amusing time but I felt like absolute crap, the cough was getting worse. I still swore I was going to go tonight if I could. Meaning if there was a train. Nothing else was gonna stop me. I was being impulsive and loving it.

After breakfast we left the others to a spot of shopping (READ: finding a change of clothes for tonight) whilst Kelly and I went to investigate if we could go tonight. I could get an 11ish train which gave me 1/2hr to walk the 10 mins from the venue to the station and as Nottingham is available as day single it wasn’t too expensive. I booked my train, went and got my ticket and then left Kelly back to the station. Kelly wasn’t so lucky, despite our best attempts; a later train to Newcastle would have cost a fortune so I had to wave her goodbye :(. I sat and done my makeup and Ade came to collect me from the station. Thanks Ade for making sure I didn’t get lost. I felt touched. I still don’t know Birmingham that well but as we walked to the venue I memorised the walk so I wouldn’t get lost when I left the gig later.

There wasn’t that many queuing so it wasn’t too bad and when we got let in I was centre of the third row and the view was awesome. I had my rucksack with me because I was going straight home after the gig and the stupid security man made me hold the whole queue up whilst he confiscated my camera from my rucksack. It wasn’t even like it was in my handbag! It was in my rucksack which was going in the cloak room! The night before it was actually in my handbag as I had been taking pics of Birmingham with it and no one messed me around then. GRRR. I was stressed because I knew I had little time after the gig to mess about or I would miss my train.

It was a bit of a long wait for Darren that night. I’d kinda got separated a bit from the others so didn’t really have anyone to talk to whilst I waited. The cough was killing me too. I was beginning to think it might have been more fun at the back with Ade and Charles. I really did feel like crap but I knew it would be worth it.


Kate Bush - Hounds of love! – “Oh, here I go! Don't let me go!”
Here you go indeed, into another awesome night! After a long wait Darren came on.

The outfit: black suit with that patterned tie and the white belt. Red socks. ;)

The setlist:

1.   Hero
2.   Bombs Up In My Face
3.   Sense Of Humour
4.   A Conversation With God
5.   Random Blinking Light (Acoustic)
6.   100 Challenging Things (Acoustic)
7.   Gunning Down Romance
8.    Setting Sun (Just Shave And Darren)
9.    Maybe
10.  Mine (Acoustic)
11.  Dirty (Drum Machine Version)
12.  Casey
13.  Sing To Me
-------------  Encore --------------
14. unlovable
15. Truly madly deeply
16.  I Don't Care
17.  So Beautiful (The Beautiful Mix)

1.   Hero

There were photographers at the front at the start of the show, Darren played up to one of them and stuck his face right into the lens LOL. It seemed strangely fitting to the song.

2.   Bombs Up In My Face

I love how Darren sings some of the harmony live. I love all the little actions too.

‘Change the channel’  -  D mocks a TV remote that don’t work and keeps pressing buttons

‘same sex union’ - Pulled huh? Kinda face

‘fucked the world’ – cheeky thrust ;)

‘fuck forever’ – D just looked at Steve to try and throw him LOL

D took his waistcoat off and threw it on floor. SO HOT.

3.   Sense Of Humor

‘you’re all being so kind’ thank you…this is sense of humor’. I have no idea what verse it was but Darren smiled at me and sung ‘you will like my sense of humor’ I just smiled back!

4.   A Conversation With God

I Love the kate bush bit. It fits so well. ‘be running up that hill, be running up those buildings’.

D Threw hands up to the line ‘My hands fly off the steering wheel’

5.   Random Blinking Light (Acoustic)

D said couldn’t have lived the last year of his life without Shave and Steve who were on the stage.

The D said “I just wanna say thanks so much because it’s coming to an end, and it’s been the best year of my life, the hardest year or my life, but the best”

Then D introduced Steve “who was always meant to play guitar with me” and then Shave “who was meant to do everything else”.

Well said Darren! I’m so pleased Darren found Steve and shave. The three of them together create the best band ever and I get a real sense, now more than ever, how much Darren loves the band he has and the fun they have. There was a moment when Darren was leaning on Steve and you could see their bond.

‘and YOU complicate…but YOU’VE got good intentions’

‘Don’t wear a puzzle ring, you’re listening to a seashell. I’ve got a tiny light that no one else can see, but you do. You see it’.

‘Now I’ve got an answer to this light..’

‘There is a tiny light. That no-one else can see. We are. We are. We arrreee’ LOVE IT!

Darren sent out his love. I could feel it. The one line that gets me every night and sums it up is ‘Thoughts without a word. Sound I've never heard’. The audience is thinking, feeling, not a sound is uttered from the stunned audience. I still adore this song live, it was never a favourite of mine but live it really works.

Chatting before 100 Challenging Things.

D asked if there was anyone who had seen the show before (LOTS screamed yes!) and then asked “Who needs me to explain the story behind this next song?” (A few screamed) so we got the story.

“I fell in love and I knew it was real love because I grew up and I guess I fell in love and I looked at somebody else and I looked at their life and their pain and I knew I wanted to absorb it and spend the future with him and I knew they would absorb mine and carry me”

D explained that the one thing that struck him most about Richard was that he had so much joy in his eyes. That D spent a long time ‘harping on’ about how he grew up and yet Richard didn’t have the luxury of having his parents alive. D said that when Richard told him the story about his parents that was when he fell in love with him.

D explained Richard’s mother was an immigrant and that she learnt English from the lifestyle, and his father was a cold miner from a northern town and he hated the dark but worked in the mines to give them a better life to escape to somewhere warm and sunny.

The sad part of the story is that when they “finally made it to the sun”, his mother passed away suddenly through an illness and his dad died a year later from cancer because of the coal.

D said they’d left behind “this boy with so much joy in his heart” so he wrote a song about how his sorrows paled into insignificance, and the song is about “a boy that they loved very much”

D said the press had given him a hard time for asking what he knew about thatcher and the miners but he knew more they thought as he fell in love with a miner’s son.

It was so well explained tonight. And so much emotion in Darren’s voice.

6.     100 Challenging Things (Acoustic)

“I was a coal town…” Silence falls instantly each night after the cheers for the bravery of the story before hand.

I adore this song, it was always one of the songs I liked best from this delicate thing and live it was always so incredible sounding and emotional. I Still adore how Darren beautifully and hauntingly Darren holds those end notes.

“Oooooh, oooooh ooh oh, it was a coal town….. ‘That’s why I love you, oh oh oh’……”

You to see the emotion written all over Darren’s face when he sang: ‘sacrifice, dreams overrun, hopes for a future for her son’

“Hundred challenging, hundred challenging, hundred challenging, wave goodbye to you. Ooooh oh ooohhh. Ooooh oh”.

That last note was held for so long and then the applause erupted. The audience was so quiet tonight. It was the only time on this tour Darren could finish the notes before the cheers, I always thought it ruined the beauty in what he was doing when it was cheered over. The audience was quiet, but it an intently listening and not a disinterested away. That was beautiful.

7.     Gunning Down Romance

D was really funny. He bowed down while doing ‘rock on’ sign with his index and little fingers to Steve. LOL.

At the end, Darren whispered “he’s good” and pointed at Steve.

8.    Setting Sun

D *giggles*:
“This is Mr shave, this is the song we wrote in the studio using just one sound and now we are going to play it.. Billie jean is…”
D *giggles*:
“this is called setting sun….”

This is such a party anthem. It just gets the entire place jumping, I miss it, it just doesn’t sound so much of a party anthem on the CD.

The keytar humping was mutual tonight. Both D and Shave were laughing so hard.

Shave let Darren play a few notes (He must have taught him LOL), Shave did an impressed look on his face, as if to say ‘not bad’ and nodded.

D asked Shave “Do you want a solo shave?” Then started to sing over it anyway. Haha. Joker.

Then I almost died laughing. I’m not even joking the lyric was “there’s an urgency”, Darren didn’t sing it, he spoke it in a questioning tone, I looked over at shave and his Strap had come loose and Shave wass trying to fix it with D helping hold the strap. Urgency… LOL.

At the end D commented: “Shave played that with just one golden finger”

9.    Maybe

D: “Shall I practise my drum loop? (Audience streams yeah!) Ok later in the show, you’ll love it!” I think this might have been Darren’s a roundabout way asking Steve if it was time for mine LOL!

D was smiling throughout maybe. As was I. I have said this a million times but I just love Darren’s outlook in this song, there is no heaven, no hell, just this universe and the soul looking for the next thing to touch. As an atheist I find this song so comforting and such an incredible thought of Darren’s to even think of the shinier star theory in the first place. It’s beautiful, lyrically and musically, and it always had me close to tears.

“Maybe you’re gone. Maybe you’re finally coming home. Maybe the end is the beginning. A radio wave tuning into some secret place I've never been. All the lights shine above you, they become a part of you”.

It’s the way, with such conviction and sadness and pain in his voice sings ‘understand?’

“Maybe, you’ve found a shinier star”.

“Maybe you’re finally coming home. Oooooh ooh oohhh”.

That last note, held so beautifully for so long. Darren’s voice is like heaven to listen to.

I don’t know why but this song just sounds even more beautiful than normal tonight. Total highlight.

10.  Mine (Acoustic)

D was asking if there was any Brummies at the show who could teach him something to say. He asked Vonnie for something to say: “I just wanna say something that will get me laid”. *giggles*. (Someone in the audience shouted something for him to say but D couldn’t hear them, D asked them to write it down and pass it to the front).

Then D asked: “So I have an accent to you right?” (audience screams yeah!) D was talking about the taxi driver who wouldn’t take them the two minutes between the mailbox and the ‘posh mall’ he couldn’t remember the name off. Someone shouted the bullring and Darren said “yeah the ball ring *giggles*” He always has to go THERE lol.

… “steve’s gonna give us a loop, that is the first time on this tour I’ve got that right!...this one of my favourite ever songs that actually got left off the first savage garden record, its called mine”.

There was a lyric at the end tagged on that I didn’t recognise. “I’d die for you, no ordinary love” – awwww.

11.  Dirty (Drum Machine Version)

D took his tie off and unbuttoned the top button on shirt. D was a real tease taking the tie off at this song.

Dirty had prince’s kiss mixed into it. D didn’t actually sing the work kiss, the whole audience did!  There was no house quake tonight but there was clapping!

Then D complained no one had passed him something to say. He asked Vonnie again. D: “you’ve been to my gigs for 12 years teach me something” -  she tried bless her!

D commented that the show was quiet tonight, and said: “feel free to dance, move your booty, grope each other in the darkness, I’m joking; you don’t do that do you Birmingham?” (few cheers and jeering)

“Tell me your sign” -  looked at Steve

Darren sung “go down” the 2nd time around and bounced down and up on his tip toes.

And we even got the sexy heavy breathing in middle!

Chatting before Casey

Then D asked again for something to say. He thought the person shouted Tooth. “Toof. Ohhh toof fairy”. The person actually shouted tough. The penny dropped with D. “oh I get it, am I tuff enough?” LOL.

“So you’re going to help me record a song. If you wanna be on it don’t scream out stuff like you’re the toof or show us your ball ring … so this is Casey and aww you’re lovely”

I couldn’t breathe for laughing and you know when you’ve got a cough and if you laugh you choke? It wasn’t good! I guess he was almost as pissed off as I was last night about the childish people just shouting something over the top of him as he introduced the song.

12.   Casey

The version of casey that followed was one of my favourites, Bristol is still my ultimate fave

“if you take me away all the pain will change into a memory of when we were amazing, and Birmingham, its 1989….what is it with these towns, every time you win you just feel like you’re losing”

“I’m singing ooh ooh ooh ooooh ooh, ooh ooh ooh ooooh ooh, ooh ooh oohh, casey when you go…..”

Once again that massive grin from D, he really was feeding off our love and comfort in that song, smiling throughout, this one was awesome!

“The pain will change into a memory of when we were amazing, and you were, you were amazing”

13.  Sing To Me

“oooh oh oohh, umm ummm, You step behind a curtain, In a moment you were gone….” I just adore how this one started tonight with those few oohs and ums harmonising the opening notes. Its hard to explain but its something I’ve seen Darren do years ago with other songs and it tugs at my heart every time.

“If this isn't what you need pry my fingers from your hand”-  D locked his fingers together and then pulled them apart.

“Maybe I’m holding on to driftwood and I’ll be alright if you could sing for me. Oooh oooh ooooh”.

I still want to scream along with Darren “Maybe it’s just meant to be, that you’d come sing to me!”

I’ve decided the song of tonight was definitely ‘sing to me’!! My god that version equals pure beauty

D took his tie with him as left stage for the encore.

-------------  Encore --------------

14. unlovable

Darren came back out for the encore and sung unlovable on the electric guitar. But acoustic. That’s confused you hasn’t it. So much more raw, more pain, more emotion, loved it with the electric guitar! I hope that this is the version he finishes with on the final night in London next week.

15. Truly madly deeply

Then the biggest shock. When I heard unlovable I thought there wouldn’t be another song before I don’t care and so beautiful because in Bristol D done the random improvised song before unlovable.

TRULY MADLY DEEPLY. I almost died. I rung Kelly. He even did the U2 bit – throwing my arms around the world. I wanted to throw my arms around the room, around him, just the sheer love been giving off in that room, MY GOD! I always wanted to hear that since the BNI DVD. All these years I’ve been a fan and still all the new things. All the firsts.

16.  I Don't Care

Darren screamed “thanks for letting me do new stuff. Well, new old stuff”. Then he explained that “I don’t care goes wayyyy back”.

I Bloody love this one live. Really steps the place up a notch. It’s such a party anthem and I just LOVE LOVE LOVE its vibe.

“I just don’t care any more_a_ore”

17.  So Beautiful (The Beautiful Mix)

Once again, Madonna’s get together thrown in. Love that song too.

Darren was jumping around, off the stage and back up, like a live wire; he was so up for it.

D looked at me and sung – “I only wanna see your frown”. All I ever do is grin at him. I thought that was funny and sweet.

Tonight had something amazing. Just as you think Darren can’t smile anymore or look any happier than he already does, he does just that. Just seeing him singing so beautiful tonight, the place jumping, Darren jumping, “you made us feel so beautiful”. (As in, D and his band).

Darren asked to hear it for the band and for Will King and then left the stage smiling ear to ear.


Thank you Darren for giving us one last minute chance to see tonight’s show. It wasn’t packed out tonight and it was nice to have some room to breathe. The was about 3/4 full and considering until last night it was in the tiny bar room downstairs, that’s pretty impressive…and all the tickets were sold before doors opened.

It was an honour to be there tonight, even if I am DYING! Somehow even when you’re ill, come show time it all doesn’t matter and you don’t feel ill you just feel the energy of the gig. I sang, danced and jumped my way through tonight's gig even if I did curl up and die on the train afterwards it was worth every little second.

Roll on one last show in London on the 24th and a Travelodge after party between friends new and old.