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Review: North Pier Live!

After a somewhat shaky start, this just got better and better as the show progressed. Due to the change of venue, there were some teething problems which involved a disgruntled audience having to stand on a draughty pier for around an hour. In spite of being cold, once inside we were given a warm welcome.

Sound problems marred the early part of the show, the backing tracks were overloud and, in the case of Amy-Jo Clough, stopped mid song. Teenager Amy coped admirably with this stating, “No pressure on me then.” Her nervous giggles had the audience on her side immediately and, after a little banter with us, she carried on a capella to thunderous applause.

Voce, which in Italian means voice, certainly did have a voice. Dubbed as the new Il Divo, the four tenors, with fantastic harmonies, entertained with their renditions of Love Changes Everything, Chasing Cars, Josh Grogan’s Only When It Rains and Mama. Humour was added when one of the guys claimed that Il Divo had nicked the latter off them, only to be told, no, WE nicked it off them.

Star of the 80s and ex-lead singer of 5 Star, Denise Pearson, bounced onto the stage with tireless energy and a shout of “How you doing?” The audience were treated to her amazing vocal range as she sang hits such as Here I Am and an 80s medley of Can’t Wait Another Minute, Rain Or Shine and System Addict.

Britain’s Got Talent winner Jai McDowel opened with Wake Me Up In Time. Sadly, the audience was, rudely, a little noisy during this, but they soon quietened at his rendition of Cold Play’s Fix You. His closing song, Anthem from the musical Chess, earned him a much deserved standing ovation and left the audience screaming for more.

The second half of the show opened with the penultimate performance of the evening. The audience were won over immediately by the stunning voice of Lucy Kay. After opening with Nella Fantasia from Puccini’s Tosca, her performance of O Mio Babbino Caro, known to some as the theme from the film Room With A View, gave me goosebumps. Reprising her bravery on BGT, we were then treated to Lucy’s version of Nessun Dorma. This had the audience in raptures and earned a much deserved standing ovation. The audience’s reaction had poor Lucy in tears of joy.  Happily, a funny noise in the theatre made her laugh and she was able to continue. Lucy was told by BGT producers that her next choice was “too big for her”. What nonsense! The beauty of the popular aria Un Bel Di from Madame Butterfly caused a few tears among the audience as it was so beautifully and movingly sung as a tribute to her late grandfather. It proved once and for all that nothing is too big for this girl! To close, she chose a livelier number, saying that she didn’t want to depress us too much. Her sultry portrayal of Carmen’s Habanera fitted the bill perfectly.

Finally, the show’s top of the bill Collabro, who incidentally are the week’s biggest selling group, were on stage. The audience raised the roof with their welcome. They opened with a beautifully arranged All Of Me Loves All Of You, followed by Come What May from the musical Moulin Rouge. This ‘musical theatre boy band’ who have been greatly inspired by the musical Les Miserables, then treated us to the evocative Bring Him Home. This was followed by the song they performed at their first BGT audition, Stars. Another much deserved standing ovation ensued. The boys then spoke of the Ice Bucket Challenge they recently undertook and the importance of fundraising for and raising awareness of Motor Neurone Disease, before challenging every member of the audience to do the challenge. Then, all too soon, they announced their last number, which was Let It Go from the film Frozen. With perfect performances from the boys, the audience was clamouring for more, which sadly we weren’t given. After such a fantastic evening I just wanted to go back and see it all again.

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