The past 72 hours must have been squeaky bum time for the Marketing Blackpool team, as beautifully presented by Duncan in his article yesterday, Wednesday saw the headline act and ticket seller, The Script, pull out of not only one of their gigs but one of Blackpool’s biggest events of the year due to family illness. The tweets of support from fans were also joined by Gary Barlow’s Glimmering beacon of hope, offering to step in on the condition that the proceeds go to Children in Need.
And so, after checking twitter constantly, it came to be. What a hero.
Being the first time in its history that the switch on has not been an open, free event, Blackpool had to prove its worth, all £34 of it.
The arena, centred on the Comedy Carpet, was well organised and presented. A good selection of refreshments were available, with willing and quick service at the beer tent; it seems however, that stalls may have felt the brunt from the change of headline act, with some people taking up the option of a refund.
The first two acts on stage were both local, yippee! Karima Francis was, as usual an absolute treasure and she got a good amount of performance time to show off her voice. Karima was followed by Last Breath who are, according to their video introduction, a rock band from Blackpool who started in 2005, they promised, rightfully so, that if you hadn’t heard of them before now, you certainly would soon. They played their own music and did a pretty good job of covering a couple of well known rock songs. Lead singer James, bless his little heart, put a shout out to his mum who was somewhere outside the perimeter fence as she couldn’t get tickets.
Last breath were quite giddy and loved the crowd, doing a reasonable job of compere, which it seems was otherwise missing. When the boys asked if the crowd were excited to see Eliza Doolittle, there were cheers and, when hero of the hour, Gary Barlow was mentioned, roars of approval. Then the crowd was asked if they were excited to see Jonathan Ross for the switch on, which sadly was met by a mumur of boo’s!
Eddie Collett, ( worshipful mayor of Blackpool and altBlackpool follower) wasn’t dressed in his Mayoral garb and bling as, in his words, he had come as a normal bloke who paid to get in. He nodded approval at Eliza Doolittle and local band Last Breath, he was reassured by future plans to line up an interview with them and find out some more, (watch this space).
Ms Doolittle did a lot to get the crowd going and dancing. A newcomer to Blackpool, but with tonight’s performance she is welcome to visit again, even singing her new song, Big When I was Little, arguably dedicated to Mr Barlow.
Ms Doolittle’s last song choice was ‘Let it rain’, what was she thinking?
“ the first switch on where it hasn’t rained and what does Eliza Doolittle sing? Let it rain!”
Miraculously it didn’t, but she did mark it as a favourite. #chuffed
A lovely family of four from Ireland who’d made the switch on part of their weekend visit remained in good humour about the 20 minutes stood watching repeated music videos on stage screens and joked it was like watching a bad version of MTV.
But in superhero style, after some repetitive hosting from Ged ‘n’ Hayley, Gary Barlow graced the stage to a loudly appreciative, half full, arena.
And he was good. My dear brother, (late twenties rough looking army type) did not stop singing, apart from momentarily to shout words of delight.
Jonathon Ross loves Blackpool, doesn’t he? And so does his family apparently, which is lovely, he can’t really be faulted for that. He’s had a few dodgy moments, said some silly things, but actually he is quite funny with it. As it turns out, it was his 20th Wedding anniversary that day and he told the crowd that his wife was more than happy to be there and, at that moment was back stage doing something or other with Gary Barlow.
After proclaiming Blackpool Illuminations to be one of the three things visible from space, (The Great wall of China and Simon Cowell’s Ego were the others) he counted down, pulled the lever and with a fizzle, the 101st year of Blackpool’s Illuminations began.
Check out all the reaction from Twitter below:
Last Breath, Karima Francis, Eliza Dolittle and Gary “Freedom of the Borough?” Barlow take to the stage for the Blackpool Illuminations Switch On Concert with Jonathan Ross flicking the 2013 lights on.
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