Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Rosie's Hyde Park Review

David asked me to write a short review about my personal Hyde Park experience and I happily obliged -- wanted to pay a tribute to undoubtedly one of the best nights of my life!

I booked the tickets for me and two of my friends (Eleanor and Rachel) absolutely ages ago, back in July. We were all so excited as it sounded like our perfect evening - we are all obsessed with musicals! My favourite way to spend the evening is popping into the West End and seeing a musical, the experience is just unbeatable!
So, we were already really looking forward to Hyde Park. Then, David told me that Rachel was scheduled to perform. Probably one of the most exciting messages I’ve ever received! The idea of finally seeing Rachel live after all this time was too much - September the 14th could not come quick enough!

Me and Eleanor (Rachel met us later) arrived at Hyde Park Corner station at 4pm and immediately made our way over to the concert area where there was already a sizeable queue of people. We started chatting to the ladies behind us about who they were most looking forward to seeing… just as we heard ‘Light At The End Of The Tunnel’ being rehearsed for the sound check. The women immediately started gushing about Ben, Lewis and Daniel whilst me and Eleanor just stood there going “Come on, Rachel Tucker is going to be incredible!”.

Finally, just after 4:30, the gates opened. Eleanor and I both raced through to buy a program as getting to the front wasn’t really an issue -- we knew we’d be able to elbow ourselves into a good spot!

After an agonisingly long wait and many embarrassing photographs of the two of us, the orchestra started playing ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ with the lyrics sung by Joss Stone. She exceeded my expectations: her voice sounded absolutely brilliant and really suited the song. The three of us (Rachel had joined us by this time) had a little dance and sing along! Steve Balsamo then gave an extremely emotional and beautiful performance of ‘Gethsemane’ before Jessie came on stage. She got an absolutely massive cheer and walked on looking absolutely stunning in a gorgeous dress! Her vocal was flawless and her acting was just fantastic throughout the very emotional ‘I Don’t Know How To Love Him’ (again, from ‘Jesus Christ Superstar‘).

The whole concert was absolutely fantastic but there were some performances that really stood out for me personally.
John Barrowman’s rendition of ‘Oh, What A Circus’ (from ‘Evita’) was brilliant and he was a fantastically entertaining host for the evening (even though he kept messing up his links and had to do them over and over again for the benefit of the Radio 2 broadcast in October!)

Another highlight for me was Idina Menzel. As soon as I saw she was to turn up, I could not believe it. She is undoubtedly one of my favourite singers of all time and played Elphaba (the ‘wicked’ witch) in ‘Wicked’: undoubtedly one of my favourite musicals of all time!
She did an incredible performance of ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’ and later on a beautiful performance of ‘Unexpected Song’ (from ‘Tell Me On A Sunday’). Just seeing her from our fantastic spot just below the stage was amazing - she had such a presence about her and was just absolutely wonderful to see!

I absolutely loved the orchestra playing ‘The Jellicle Ball’ (from ‘Cats’) and me and Rachel had a little dance. ‘Cats’ was one of the first musicals I ever watched. Duncan James singing ‘Mister Mistofelees’ was absolutely hilarious! Not sure it really worked as a serious performance (bearing in mind it is usually sang by a group of ‘cats’!) but he got the crowd going with a massive bubble machine!

Sorry, I know I’m waffling on a bit (there were so many amazing performances). I’ll try to plough through a little faster!
Denise Van Outen was brilliant singing ‘Take That Look Off Your Face’ (from ‘Tell Me On A Sunday’) and Lee Mead (who followed her) was absolutely fantastic. I’m so pleased they didn’t just give him ‘Any Dream Will Do’ to sing and instead he did a wonderful version of ‘Love Changes Everything’ as well as ‘All I Ask Of You’ (with Hayley Westenra) and then at the end of the evening he sang ‘Close Every Door’ and ‘Any Dream Will Do’ (from ‘Joseph’ of course!) BUT with a twist -- he asked the audience to sing with him which was amazing and lots of fun.

The fabulous cast of ‘Phantom of the Opera’ performed the title song and Rhydian sang ‘The Music Of The Night’. Both of these performances were absolutely outstanding. Gina Beck (who plays Christine) just has the most incredible range to her voice and Rhydian was brilliant! The girls behind us were shouting “How on earth did Leon win?!” and we turned around and just said “I KNOW!” - it’s ridiculous, Rhydian has such talent! But, as we’ve realised, it’s not always the best performers who win these competitions.. (“RACHEL WAS ROBBED!” was also shouted later on!).
I have to admit to not really listening to Jodie’s performance. Sorry if that sounds awful, it just didn’t really interest me!

Ruthie Henshall was absolutely stunning in her performances of ‘Another Suitcase’ and then ‘The Perfect Year’ (a duet with John Barrowman.. And she got to kiss him.. Lucky girl!).
She’s another favourite of mine and did not disappoint, there is something so special about her voice!
However, by this time I was starting to get concerned that Rachel had not performed yet despite being scheduled to much earlier on.

I needn’t have worried. John Barrowman made another tenuous link that I didn’t really hear (as soon as he announced ‘Rachel Tucker’ we were screaming pretty loudly!) and she came running on to the stage with Jessie, Niamh and Keisha. Rachel looked absolutely gorgeous and really looked as though she was having the time of her life. ‘Light At The End Of The Tunnel’ was a fantastic performance by all eight of them (proving that reality TV shows really can discover talent!) and everyone was singing and dancing. I managed to get some lovely shots of Rachel, Niamh and Jessie. My personal favourite is when Jessie just flung her arms around Rachel’s neck and they just hugged each other! (Sorry the quality of that particular photo isn’t great). Words can’t sum up how excited I was to finally see Rachel live, sounding better than ever and having such a good time.
(Also, Niamh looked lovely and I really really want her dress!).

The concert closed in spectacular fashion: the orchestra played a medley of Andrew’s most popular songs, accompanied by the most fantastic firework display I’ve ever seen! It lasted a good 7 minutes and I managed to film all of it -- I’m going to try and put it up on youtube and it’s definitely worth a peek!

In my opinion, this concert really was one of the best evenings of my life. All three of us had a near perfect night. Seeing Rachel was amazing and knowing that we’re going to see her for even longer on Monday is just fantastic! I’m sure she’s going to be absolutely phenomenal and I cannot wait to go and see her!
Hopefully they’ve started planning for Andrew’s 70th birthday party -- I am DEFINITELY going!


Anonymous said...

Great review Rosie thanks for sharing! Really paints a picture of how it all went down.

Andy said...

Thanks so much for doing this fabulous review for the blog Rosie.

You're a star!

Katie said...

Great review Rosie! I LOVED the whole show and like you said, it's got to be one of the best evenings I've had!
Can't wait for opening night either!

rosie said...

It was a pleasure - i loved writing it!
It really was a very special and memorable evening and my words probably didn't do it justice... those who were there know just how awesome it was!
But thanks for your comment, it really was a pleasure!
(and apologies to any Jodie fans - don't wanna sound rude!)
Rosie x

David said...

Superb review Rosie and I'm delighted to welcome you as our newest contributor!