The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour

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After 2 and a half very intense hours of fighting for tickets, 2 months of listening to every track on every album, several visits to You Tube to watch her videos and countless spontaneous squeals of excitement, the time had finally come; I was going to see Beyoncé in the Mrs. Carter World Tour.

On entering the arena the first thing that catches your eye is the B stage, oh yes two opportunities to get close enough to grab that mane of delicious caramel hair, (for anyone who is yet to go I recommend getting there early). The support act, Luke James, was horrific – the Pepsi and Chime for Change adverts got more of a cheer than him. Dressed as a stripper priest (who then went on to strip off his top half) made me feel literally sick with cringe! What made Beyoncé pick him I have no idea – maybe he knows one of her darkest secrets or she hoped a crap support would make her look better. Who knows?

As the house lights dimmed for a second time I could not contain my excitement, and along with the rest of the audience I went crazy as the opening bars of RUN THE WORLD kicked in. Then, on she came. Queen B was in the same room as me, breathing my air. Dressed in a sparkly, beaded, white one piece, she looked unbelievable, screaming power and femininity.

Her voice was amazing, so powerful and so strong. She interacted with the crowd throughout the whole night – a person favorite was her pronunciation of ‘Birmingham’, and she put on a truly great show.

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Her outfits were exactly what I wanted from her, sexy but not slutty, showing enough skin but not too much that it was tacky, and of course topped off with her signature sky scraper heels. From a flowing red dress, to a black and gold two piece, a skin tight bodice to an animal print dress she looked sensational. The best was the glitter-covered blue, full body cat suit she wore when she zip-lined over the audience to get to her B-stage – yes, she did that.

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Here she rocked out to IRREPLACEABLE, RESENTMENT, and the classic LOVE ON TOP, whipping her hair all over the place before giving some words of advice and zip-lining back to a burst of Destiny’s Child’s SURVIVOR.

Next she was off stage for a quick outfit change as an interlude of Countdown played. As the song counted back to ten, I was ready for her to come back on and jump straight into the lyrics, but boy was I in for a surprise. As the countdown reached one there was a slight pause in the music, then boom straight into the opening chords of CRAZY IN LOVE.

Well I nearly burst into tears (FYI this was the song I had been waiting all my life for). I was finally getting to see ‘the strut’ live! It was amazing. The crowd was going just as crazy as me and it was such a great moment to be in. I had no other cares in the world apart from being right there, right then.

From CRAZY IN LOVE we went straight into SINGLE LADIES and it was clear that the show was coming to an end. Fitting in another costume change, Beyoncé sang her latest song GROWN WOMAN which included a dance routine with a very strange blind folded moment- this wasn’t really explained so I just went with it.

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(Weird blind fold bit?)

Finally she gave a little rendition of I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU, again slightly strange but I guess a tribute to her many fans, before departing the stage. At this point I realised what her encore would be, and I was right: HALO. Slightly disappointed as it’s not one of my favorite songs of hers, but amazing none the less. This was followed by a massive thank you to everyone involved in the show’s production to the backing track of GREENLIGHT, before the curtains came down on what had been a spectacular night.

The night was sensational, not only was there great singing, it was a great show. Well worth the money. The Mrs. Carter World Tour was everything I wanted it to be and more. So much so, as soon as I got home the next day I was looking for more tickets, and really considering buying tickets for V Fest where she is due to headline this summer.

Beyoncé is at the height of her game, and I hope she stays there long enough to tour again, as I will definitely be in the queue for her next show!

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Good Evening York…

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It’s about time guitar music had a new face, and oh boy what a pretty one it is.

Fresh on the music scene, Nottingham born Jake Bugg shot to stardom as his first solo album went straight to the top of the charts knocking Mumford and Sons from the top spot back in October 2012. First hearing ‘Two Fingers’ played on Fearne Cotton’s Radio 1 show last year I immediately made note to tell my younger sister – an avid music fan – that she MUST download this track. Only to be told I was already behind the times and that he was the newest up and coming act to watch out for. There wasn’t much watching to be done as he was in my face faster than a lightning bolt (awful metaphor but it had to be done, forgive me please).

After being unsuccessful in finding tickets for any of the Bugg tour dates I was very lucky that a young fellow helped a friend in need; I felt like Cinderella finally getting to go to the ball. And so came March 29th and so to the ball we went.

The York Barbican was a very interesting choice of venue for the gig, what seemed to be a kind of theatre transformed itself into a weird music hall. Support act Misty Miller kept the crowd reasonably entertained for half an hour with her hormonal fueled songs and foot tapping beats. Her voice was good, she played her own guitar and she seemed to have some idea of what she was doing on stage, but after the third song about a boy she started to sound very similar to Taylor Swift. The other feeling I had while watching her was that she really needed to up her stage artier; jeans and a baggy check shirt do not scream ‘indie queen’. She looked like she was there for band practice rather than to give a rock and roll performance; even a fitted shirt would have been better than nothing.

Anyway, back to Bugg.

Opening his set with the last song on his current album, ‘Fire’ I realised this wasn’t going to be the ‘crazy, jump-around’ gig I had kind of hoped for. However as soon as the chorus kicked in I didn’t care. Sounding just as good live – if not better – than he does on tape, Jake Bugg wowed us all. Jumping from track to track, with no flashy stage show and quick transitions between guitar changes I got lost in the music; at one point even forgetting I was watching him in York Barbican and not in the NME tent as Leeds.

As he started to near the end of his gig and play his most recent releases, ‘Two Fingers’ and ‘Lightening Bolt’ I suddenly started to panic that he hadn’t played my favorite track from the album, and question whether he was going to do an encore considering his most popular ones were being played. The stage lights went down and we were left in darkness, he couldn’t not do my favorite one, ‘he only has one album’, ‘he must come back out and do it’ I kept telling myself. Low and behold, after a few minutes of crowd chanting, the lights came back up and Bugg entered back onto the stage to, you’ve guessed it, play my favorite track, ‘Broken’.

For his finale song Bugg did something I’ve never seen done before; he finished his set with a cover, and it worked quite well – but I feel this could only be because I knew the cover. I imagine it would be quite a letdown if you weren’t familiar with the song. On hearing his music and listening to the way he sings, it is plain to see that Johnny Cash is a big influence on Bugg and as soon as the opening chords of ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ kicked in I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. Now all I want is for Bugg to release an album solely dedicated to Johnny Cash covers.

This guy is already the one not to be missed, but I must insist that if you ever get the chance to see him, GO. Buy his album, get his EPs, but don’t miss out on the refreshing sound of rock and roll.

 

The Brit Awards 2013

Britain’s biggest music night out of the year has been and gone and – for a change – what a night it was. With the Famous Five One Direction, Emeli Sande and Justin Timberlake (JT) performing, James Corden hosting for a third time and the Taylor Swift vs Harry Styles drama to follow there was everything to play for.

Muse opened the show and what an opening it WASN’T. Sorry to all those Muse fans but I just don’t see the fascination with them, the only bonus that came with them opening was that I had an extra 5 minutes to get ice crème.

The stars had well and truly dressed to impress with thigh-high dresses and velvet tuxedos, however there were a select few that missed the ‘smart’ memo….

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Corden was looking dapper and seemed to be really enjoying himself as he joked around with the stars including Radio One DJ Nick Grimshaw, Robbie Williams and Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl. He breezed past touchy subjects publically highlighting the Adele interruption of 2012, but his main target was poor young Harry Styles – Swifty, strippers and at one point making Harry hide in embarrassment behind a program! (It was great fun for us though).

Performances were by far some of the best The Brits has offered us in the past few years. Hell-O Taylor Swift! Where did that come from? Some may say her transformation from innocent beauty to raunchy sex kitten could have been to show Harry what he’s missing but I think it was just the fact that a massive music awards show needs a massive performance – and she nailed it!

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One Direction gave us an awersum performance of their new single which is being released in aid of Comic Relief, and it was made clear why they were nominated for British Group. The guys were fun, energetic and their chemistry on stage was captivating.

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For me the return of JT has been long awaited, and to be completely honest I am still waiting for the excitement to kick in. I thought his previous song ‘Suit and Tie’ was perhaps a one-off mishap, but no he came back with Mirrors, and although yes another great performance, the song itself = naff. Come on JT bring the sexy back!! Ben Howard gave a beautiful rendition of his song ‘Only Love’ and of course Emeli Sande closed the show with ‘Clown/Next To Me – which was SOOO much better than last year’s atrocious performance by Blur.

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Award wise, winners were pretty boring, no shocks really apart from Lana Del Ray taking International Female Solo Artist – she was up against the likes of Alicia Keys, Taylor Swift and Rihanna, something definitely went wrong there! Although I was pretty bummed Jake Bugg didn’t win British Breakthrough and One D didn’t take British Group it was fair play to the winners. Tom Odell is our one to watch for this year and as the first male EVER to win the Critics’ Choice Award there will be all eyes on him throughout 2013.

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A final word on The Brit Awards 2013 – thank God James Author didn’t win British Single.

The Brit Awards 2013 Winners

Best Female Solo Artist –  Emeli Sandé

British Breakthrough Act – Ben Howard

British Male – Ben Howard

International Female Solo Artist – Lana Del Rey

British Live Act – Coldplay

British Single – Adele – Skyfall

British Group – Mumford and Sons

International Group – The Black Keys

International Male – Frank Ocean

Special Recognition – Warchild

British Album – Emeli Sandé – Our Version of Events

Global Success – One Direction

British Producer of the Year – Paul Epworth