So much had been made of Whitney’s live show that it was impossible not to arrive at the docklands 02 arena without preconceptions of how bad one of the worlds living legend divas show could be. The uk press had been salivating at her ‘’terrible Birmingham show’’ with predictable headlines like ‘’Houston we have a problem’’ etc. but my guy and I turned up out of respect for who she once was and the fact that she is after all still Whitney. Legend. Icon. Badass mama with a voice that once reigned supreme.
It seems thousands of others felt the same cos the arena was heaving with anticipation early and as Whitney walked out with no extra pomp or regalia the crowd went nuts. The beginning part of the show saw her mentor and record industry label head Clive Davis watching her from his seat alongside Whitney’s mother. The family were in full support as her daughter bobbi Christina also took the mic briefly to show those melodic genes carry through the Houston household.
When she performed ‘’its not right but its ok’’ I sung along and smiled at the irony of the title song. It wasn’t right that clearly the years had taken their toll on Whitney’s voice in certain parts of songs especially those notorious high notes, but it was ok. We were there to see the legend in the flesh.
Similarly In “Greatest love of all” she wasn’t hitting the high notes but it really didn’t matter. The fans must’ve read the bad reviews but sang along hard and kept her going.
Interestingly in more gospel flavoured tracks like ‘’Preachers wife’’ movie song “Jesus loves me” , she hit every high note sounding amazing!. Clearly her vocals are more at home with the music of the church she was raised with.
There was a long segue with her brother singing “drifting on a melody” which predictably had fans running for the loo and hot dog stand whilst Whitney changed into her next outfit which was a red rubber satin looking gown which unfortunately for her clung in the wrong places and made her look a little lumpy and unflattering but nevertheless there’s no doubt that her figures great for her age. For me it was a sack the stylist moment.
The show was worth seeing a songstress with a reputation and catalogue that Whitney has. Her banter with the crowd was full of feistiness as she cussed 2 front row audience members for not participating as much as she liked, and again as she acknowledged the haters as the crowd gave her a rousing applause.
Her encore showed a more youthful Whitney in boots, jeans ,ruffled white shirt and waistcoat prince charming style. She came, she sang, she may not have conquered but she came correct and gave us her all and it was more than enough in this current day when many acts cant sing live to begin with.
Straight afterwards it was off to the Mayfair hotel uber glam bar for a party thrown by former international male model elo in honour of his business-the London motor museum.
Now, I’m not a car fan in any sense of the word. I cant tell one make from another and distinguish them from one another by describing their colour. But last week elo convinced me to travel out to Hayes in west London where he opened up the museum after hours on a Sunday so I could have a private tour and viewing. It blew my mind. And my mate who is a car fan was gob smacked by the spectacle. The museum houses over 150 classic carts from Europe and America from every era and genre. There are classic cute cars, flash cars, cars from movies, videos, celebrities and so on. Cars with statistics like ‘’fastest, most expensive, oldest in the world’’.
So when elo invited us to the pre party just before the annual infamous celeb packed gumball rally I agreed to go. As we pulled up to the venue a few of the classic cars from his collection were on display outside and passers by were gawping and taking photos in excitement as if tom cruise had just passed by.
The usual ultra trendy, sexy model types and rich kids inside were sipping cocktails and nibbling on finger food. Just as I thought at 1am that the night was over elo explained that he was dragging us to the after after party at cirque club. I protested that I had an early morning the next day. The protest was in vain and lasted 3 minutes.
The outside of cirque was heaving and reminded me of a hype New York that people from every fashionable walk of life were desperate to enter. Once we were in we were guided to the basement where it was like a scene from a video as strippers knelt gyrating on the bar in frilly pink lingerie, carnival girls and circus inspired characters were mingling with street kids. There were even midgets jamming hard (are we till allowed to say midgets or is it vertically challenged people?).
At first the dj was playing house music that didn’t have me ecstatic until I spotted a group of home boys jumping up and down like crazy on the still pretty empty dance floor. On further inspection it turned out to be none other than Dizzee Rascal wearing a nirvana t-shirt dancing hard to the hypnotic beats with 3 of his crew. As if that sight wasn’t bizarre enough , next to him Shane from boy band Boyzone was hosting a table heaving with drinks that the whole club were guzzling from.
Once the dj started spinning hip hop & R&B the dance floor got blitzed and it turned into a sweat fest up in there.
I finally dragged myself out of there at 3am dreading waking up 2 hours later as a car was coming to scoop me up at 6am to do my slot on the BBC RADIO LONDON breakfast show with my old BIG BREAKFAST colleagues Gabby Roslin and Paul Ross.
Yep-I was a wreck but hey-life’s for living right?. As someone once said, you can sleep when you’re dead.