Wednesday, May 13, 2009

John Barrowman in concert

Oh crikey, how do you possibly try and sum up the experience of seeing John Barrowman in concert? For a start, he's totally nuts, everywhere on TV, and with the best will in the world my music collection doesn't have a great deal in common with his albums. That said, I am my mother's daughter and have an awareness of musical theatre that is rather well-established. Besides, Captain Jack!!!

So I could not help but be enthralled by the whole effect because there is something irrepressible and irresistible about John and his showmanship. He's an old-fashioned, all-singing, all-dancing entertainer with a dash of rude humour to set the whole thing off. He's clearly a performance-addict and adores having the audience eating from the palm of his hand (not literally though because that would be gross).

Reflecting at least a proportion of the audience, my mum, of course, would have loved it - and him. There were also certainly plenty there who appeared set on seducing him across the sexual preference barrier, but I think it's actually more knowing and subtle than that suggests. Sure, there were knickers thrown on stage -- urgh, still warm! -- but isn't this sort of act part of the audience's role in the performance? I think it largely is* and pretty much everyone there knows and understands that role-playing. The audience may whoop and holler in collective sexual excitement at the wriggle of his arse and hips to 'Living la vida loca' but it's understood that he's in a long-term committed relationship with a guy (the incredible Scott who must have the patience and reserve of a saint to act as ballast to the excess energy of JB).

I also know that mum would have loved the range of songs, especially tracks such as "I Know Him So Well" (beautifully dueted with accompanying performer Danny Boys) and the always tear-inducing 'I Won't Send Roses' from Mack and Mabel. (It's the lyrics and the sense of a story narrative in such songs that does me in). And she, like the rest of us, would have been reduced to hysterics at the combination of Scottish jigs and songs like 'Memory' from Cats (to be seen to be believed).

Perhaps what is most important is that, if you are prepared to ride the wave of the occasion, seeing John Barrowman in performance is hugely good fun. Laughter, tears, dancing in abundance, audience participation (we were - eventually - better than Sheffield) and a great sense that the whole place left with a silly smile on its face.

I may need to have an infusion of indie pop, post-rock and avant-garde noise to cleanse my musical credibility with certain people, but I refuse to deny that I had a fabulous evening. All in all, hilarious fun. Recommended.

Deliberately NOT cross-posted to Music is our Hot, Hot Sex!

*I'm not saying there are no misguided fans who feel that at heart he has great potential for a straight het relationship, but just that there is a difference between fantasy, projection and understanding reality that the significant majority of fans understand. Indeed, as someone so Out he may as well be in space, what is interesting is how so many of the audience are utterly accepting and charmed by his gay sexuality. And I don't mean from a kind of fag-hag perspective either.


Rosby said...

Eeeep! I'm off to Bournemouth on May 28th; so glad that it's shaping up! I haven't seen John since October, and now I'll be seeing him twice in just over two weeks; the gig and the BFI Torchwood preview!


JoeinVegas said...

Are you saying you wouldn't eat from the palm of his hand? (I guess it does depend on what he is holding)