The De Montfort Hall, Leicester - Tuesday 6th June ’06

Elaine Pittaway......
After THAT journey to Manchester on Saturday it was a doddle just to drive the 20 miles to Leicester on Monday.  As I had worked in the city for 5 years, and been to the De Montfort Hall before, finding it was not a problem either. After meeting Jackie and Sharon at Fosse Park - we only had to go round one roundabout twice - but then even people who live in Leicester say it is a 'nightmare'- we arrived relatively unscathed.

Monday evening was beautiful and I had forgotten what a lovely setting the Hall is in - just on the edge of Victoria Park - you would have to remind yourself you were only a couple of minutes walk away from one of the very busy main roads. People were outside enjoying a drink in the sunshine. We met Julie Lawrence who welcomed us to her home city.

Don Mescall was even better than Saturday - and judging by the queue for his CDs at the interval plenty of people liked him and his music. He mentioned the fact that Ronan Keating's new single with Kate Rusby had been penned by him and when we spoke to him after the concert was delighted to have been told by someone he was mentioned as the composer during Ronan's interview on The Album Show on Radio 2 the night before.

The stage is quite high in the Hall and thanks must go to the lady in the box office who advised seats on the first row of the tiered section.  Regular attenders are obviously aware of this 'trick' as rows A to F were sparsely filled, which must have been a little strange for Don and Brian as usually most people want to sit as near to the front as possible - instead of which they would have viewed a lot of empty seats then a solid mass of audience as the place was full for as far back as I could see.

No white bread and potatoes were spoken of this time but mention was made of the early stages of pregnancy with Fergal Flynn part 3, so to speak.  This received a positive response from the audience, who were a good crowd - some remembering Brian's previous appearance there with Clannad some years ago.

All too soon we were listening to You Raise Me Up and I then took the opportunity of asking my friend Janice (who was attending her first concert, having heard Brian's music and seen him sing at George Best's funeral) if she had enjoyed herself, as I had noticed her laughing, smiling, singing along and clapping during the evening.  A very definite 'Yes' was the reply and this was even more so when we explained about the signing queue and the opportunity for a word with Brian.  Janice joined in and had her poster signed (kindly supplied by Julie).  Maybe next time we will be able to persuade her to have her photo taken too - one thing at a time. We sat on the stairs afterwards whilst Jackie was busy with her camera and Janice commented that she had never seen anyone greet so many people after a concert, and in the way Brian did. Time for everyone.

It was still warm when we finally came out and it was only midnight when I put the key in the door - quite early after last Saturday in Manchester.

Brian (and Don and the band) thank you for two wonderful concerts.  It has been heart warming to see  you filling larger venues but I know I am not the only one who hopes this is not the end of ever playing the smaller, more cosy places again, many peoples' favourite being The Stables.  It's back to the packing boxes now ready for a house move very shortly.  The two evenings have been a  welcome change to looking at packed boxes or items waiting to be packed.  I feel I can continue with the task with renewed enthusiasm (!),though how long that will last - who knows?

Pete Scotney, Derby........
Well there were rumours abound today that the World was going to end 06-06-06.....

Thank goodness it did not as I would have missed my Meeting with Brian Kennedy! Arriving early I thought Brian would have being doing a 'sound check' but his Manager informed me he had yet to arrive. As it was a beautiful Summer's evening I waited by the Stage Door Entrance. Brian suddenly appeared walking up the drive...with two of his band members. I introduced myself and we shook hands. Told Brian I would be on the 2nd Row....little did I realise that I would be the only one on that Row when Don Mescall opened the show.

Although it was not a packed De Montfort Hall.....the Leicester audience gave Brian a very warm Welcome...He began with songs from his new CD Album 'Homebird'....although at one point he stated there was 'no-set-list' this evening....new songs included Go With My Heart, Homebird, What You Wish For, Silver Hearts On Chains, If You Don't Believe In Me...which he said would be the NEW Single coming out in July...a song co-written with Ronan Keating. Brian encouraged the Audience to sing along and bantered that these 'new songs' hopefully would become the 'old songs' in time.

He did a Medley of Crazy Love/Tupelo Honey/Have I told You Lately....not being too familiar with earlier material he sang Christopher Street, A Better Man, Captured....The Ballad Of KIllaloe was ad-libbed to which the Audience fell about laughing....not many artists have a sense of humour about a song of unrequited love...He gave a lovely solo performance of Carrickfergus and sang his Eurovision entry Every Song Is A Cry For Love (douze points Brian), along with Margaret Barry and the rousing Curragh of Kildare.....He jokingly told the Leicester crowd that he loved to sing the 'sad songs' as they made him happy....but changing tempo he gave them Get On With Your Short Life segued into Put The Message In A Box....everyone I think had tingling hands from all the clapping....Brian removed his black jacket as the show was getting hotter on this balmy evening...revealing a pink shirt.....receiving wolf whistles from many of the ladies.. especially a crowd on Row 4....you know who you are!!....Brian serenaded Dirty Old Town at one point near the end.....

Saying goodnight twice he finally returned thanking the Leicester Audience and that he would be CD signing after the Show in the foyer...  He started to sing You Raise Me Up......accapella....to a rapturous applause!!!!......Bravo Brian!!!

90 mins soon flew by and 10.00pm was here....out in the foyer the line for autographs got longer and longer. I reached Brian at 10:20pm for quick autographs and photos...maybe longer next time eh Brian.....?? Finally outta the door at 10:30pm racing for the last Derby train home...phew!!....the fastest 9mins I have ever run....

Does anyone know what that Intro was before Brian came on stage.....A Man Called Brian????