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Chris High reviews a Chris de Burgh concert from 2004 on this page

CHRIS DE BURGH - Live In Concert
Liverpool Anglican Cathedral,
October 23rd, 2004.

Chris de Burgh together with Chris High and Helen at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral 2004
Chris High, Chris de Burgh and Helen in Liverpool.
Last night, I was a very lucky man. I was in the company of my lovely fiancée, Helen, AND two of the nicest couples I know, Diane & Andrew Perry, and Claire & Steve Bennett.

Fed and watered, we dived into 2 taxis and asked to be taken to the Cathedral. Now, bear in mind that I haven't seen ANY advertising about the place for the gig AT ALL. So, when the driver asked us 'where to' and we said the Anglican, he said 'whereabouts?' Well to us it was obvious that we meant TO THE CATHEDRAL, but the cabbies must have been totally unaware of the show, as they had no idea anything was taking place. When we got out, they must have thought us mad going to a locked Cathedral in the dark, in the rain, for no reason.

Anyway, having stepped out of the cabs into the light drizzle, the doors were still locked at 7pm. Good start eh??? Perhaps the cabbies knew something we didn't afterall ?????

No it seems not, because at just 7.05 the Cathedral opened and we filed in. This is the building where I graduated in July this year. So, there were 500 graduans each with two guests. That makes 1,500 people in total (maths eh? Don't ya just love it?) and I thought, simply because of the lack of advertising, that there might be 1 or 2 spare seats.

Steve, Claire Helen & I were 2nd row, left of stage at the end. Diane & Andrew were third row, pretty much centre stage. Great views and ideal sound for the support act of Michelle Lawrence (I think that's right, sorry if not) who had a very strong, evocative voice and style, with an acoustic guitar accompanist (?)

Now as some of you might know, I like to write a tale or two based on CdeB's work. Not wishing to break with tradition, I'd cobbled together 4 tales and went to see Chris Andrews prior to the show and he asked if I'd like to pass them over afterwards (WOULD I EVER !!!!!!). So that was really nice of him to offer AND it was great to be recognised straight away, 2 years after Manchester. The main thing for me was, however, to say thanks to CdeB personally for the support he gave to Untrained Melodies in writing the forward. But more of that later.

Chris Andrews got a call whilst we were speaking. Chris was at Anfield watching Liverpool play (I use the term loosely) and was running a bit late(!) and we went back to the others to tell them the good news.
Anyway, after meeting Chris & Stewart Williams and having a bit of a chat (HI THERE BOTH !!),we settled down to watch Michelle (a good scouse girl) do her act in front of what must have been very proud friends & family.

The moment we were waiting for arrived at 8:15 when the first strains of When Winter Comes broke out from a sound system that seemed tailor made for such a fantastic venue and Chris De Burgh took to the stage in a white shirt, black pants, looking VERY relaxed and happy (not just because LFC actually managed to scrape a win either, I'm sure).

The new album has, I admit, taken me a while to get into. But The Road To Freedom IS one of its, and his, finest songs in my opinion and it was with this that the show started in earnest.

When we saw him in Manchester, he was absolutely full of flu and NOT at his best. Last night, he was on top form. His voice was strong, the music was superbly played and the lighting was excellent. So what was wrong?
Me!! I was wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I couldn't get it out of my head (he says, slipping briefly into Kylie mode) THAT WE WERE IN A CATHEDRAL!!! You're not supposed to go to church and ENJOY a gig, are you? It's a house of God & reverence, respect and reflection are paramount to the ambience of such settings, aren't they???
St.Peter's Gate, was bizarre because the main Altar, when CdeB sang '... waiting for you at....Saint Peter's Gate' lit up in an eerie yellow light, which was something I wasn't prepared for. YES it fitted the song, NO I didn't find it offensive AT ALL. But without doubt, it was one of THE strangest atmospheres I have ever experienced for a gig. And I've been to a few odd gigs in some VERY odd setting, I can tell you. Tangerine Dream, need I say more?

The ice-breaker - so to speak - for me, was Living On The Island, when Chris went walk about. He was absolutely inundated with well wishers and you could see that he was genuinely moved by the experience. He went left of stage, right of stage, down the side aisles and 3/4 along the main aisle, singing a medley of songs ( including Tender Hands) and made a special effort to include the many disabled members of the audience too, which was really nice to see.

After that I was in gig mode, because he then sang Borderline which was followed by a truly beautiful version of Say Goodbye To It All which might have been written to be played in Cathedrals.

He introduced his son, Hubie, to us and was joined in a rendition of McCartney's Blackbird, with Hubie on guitar. For a lad of 16, then it must have been scary to say the least. But he handled it REALLY well and the tune was a big hit with everybody.
Natasha Dance, Last Night, Same Sun et al, were all sung perfectly, with Where Peaceful Waters Flow, having a special place in my heart anyway, being especially moving.

For Lady In Red, the lighting techs designed it so that the choir stalls were all individually picked out in a deep red light that looked just beautiful, and with the spots picking out individual carvings in the masonry (a trumpeter here, an angel there) the whole place became transformed from all of those things it had been before, into a building who's 'owner' would surely be only too happy to have a party like this taking place inside. Five Past Dreams was finished with a little nod of acknowledgement to Diane, his wife, who was looking radiant in a red leather jacket and black skirt, away to my immediate left.

The audience, all 1,500 + of them, were also doing there bit (come on, you didn't think there was to be too many spaces in a City where he's been made an honorary scouser, did you??).

When Chris invited us to get up and dance after The Journey (a truly top song) for Read My Name (Thanks Astrid for arranging mine & Diane's and Steve's names to be featured on the screens - such a buzz!!) we needed no second invite.
The front of the stage area was chocca block with people singing and laughing and dancing. It was, again bearing in mind the setting, odd and nice and fantastic, all rolled into one.

Too soon though, we were at Don't Pay The Ferryman & High On Emotion time, quickly followed by Snows Of New York (amazing, what else can I say !!?) and we thought that was it.

How many times can I be wrong in one night?

It was now 11 o'clock. But on he came again with Hubie and hit us with a medley of Beatles tunes mixed up with Pretty Woman & American Pie, which culminated with Hey Jude, superbly.
Everybody was singing there little hearts out for all of there worth and the atmosphere was, by now, buzzing!!!

I looked over and behind us and, in the disabled section, I saw two friends - Julie & Pat Rodaway - from Henshaws Society for Blind People and Helen & I dragged them up to dance the encore away. They had an absolute ball, they really did. The encore was so long, that I even had time to describe what the stage looked like to them both, which was great!!

Sadly though, like all good things, the show ended after just a little over 3 hours!!!
Chris, I think, was visibly moved by his reception and - picking up the roses given to him and the wine he'd also been presented on stage, he made his final wave and the audience dispersed into the night.

Us? Well, we went to the side of the stage and waited. After about 15 minutes (getting in the way of the stage crew frantically dismantling the stage area, sorry) CdeB was dressed in a brown jumper, signing autographs and posing with fans for photos.
I managed (after again surprisingly, by the way, both Steve and myself being instantly recognised) to have a really nice chat about how things were going. I gave him the 4 new tales and he said that he'd really enjoyed reading the others and asked me to keep them coming. He also said that he'd visited the site and that he'd liked what he'd seen there.

We had our picture taken and we had programmes and CD cases signed and he was just so NICE and patient!!!!!!!! He'd just given a 3 hour concert, for goodness sake!!! Where does he get his energy ????

Finally, I shook his hand again and got to say my 'proper' thank you for his involvement, interest and support in the CD-Rom, to which he responded with 'it's a pleasure, and I hope to see you published very soon. Keep in touch and keep up with the stories, I look forward to getting more.'

ECSTATIC !!! This is a bloke who has had HIS songs - his career babies - taken and mercilessly interpreted (probably inaccurately) and STILL has the goodwill to back them. It's a fact for which I shall always be grateful. The Guy's A Star !!!

It was our turn to head off into the night then and we did so after a truly special evening.



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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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