My 2014 in music and theatre – part one

I moved to London officially in early 2014 so I was lucky enough to see lots of shows and other events. Let’s dive straight in to the round-up.

Pop/rock

I drove from London to Portsmouth and back especially to see Newton Faulkner in March and he did not disappoint with impressive acoustic guitar stylings, a complimentary backing band and a casual, intimate vibe.

one
Justin Timberlake

I saw Justin Timberlake twice at the O2 and he was absolutely brilliant both times. He is a born entertainer in a surprisingly similar way to Michael Buble, who I also saw this year after first seeing him in 2013. Both had world class bands, smooth voices, charming personalities and slick moves, just with a different genre of music.

I also saw McBusted twice, at the O2 during their mammoth tour and again in Hyde Park where they were joined by the Backstreet Boys, which was a delightful reunion. McBusted, whatever their critics say, are a brilliant live band and put on a polished show with all the best McFly and Busted songs plus a DeLorean and a UFO. Another band I’ve seen many times before was Electric Six – it’s become a tradition to see them on their UK tour every winter and this year in Islington was as fun as ever before.

Guilfest was a fun music festival, with an utterly eclectic mix of artists from Jedward to The Human League, but it was The Boomtown Rats’ mid-set rendition of I Don’t Like Mondays that was the highlight of the weekend for me.

Sam Smith at Wilderness
Sam Smith at Wilderness

Wilderness Festival was my first experience of actually camping at a festival and immersing myself in the whole weekend and I loved it. Musical highlights were Sam Smith, who I am desperate to see again, London Grammar whose sound was almost ethereal in a field under the supermoon, and old favourite Burt Bacharach.

Musicals

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I fell in love with two musicals this year and went to see each twice: Once, where I especially loved Arthur Darvill’s light touch as Guy, and Jersey Boys, which I now have a borderline obsession with due to the infectious and timelessly brilliant music. I’m seeing both again next year – the former to catch Ronan Keating in the lead role and the latter to review the tour production.

2014-06-22 13.48.32The Book of Mormon was also a completely fantastic show. There’s not much new I can say about it except everyone should see it, especially musical-sceptics.

I enjoyed Wicked, especially the standard of the singing and the spectacle of it all, but I didn’t love it as much as the others, I think because some of the songs weren’t so exciting and it dragged a little. The dragon was awesome though! And the Calamity Jane tour starring Jodie Prenger and someone off Eastenders was so much more impressive than I expected, with every member of the cast more than pulling their weight acting, singing and playing instruments on stage.

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