I'm a big Peter Kay fan. I said as such in a recent blog post where I wrote of my love of good natured, down-to-earth comedy.
I'm also a big musical fan and of Queen and of Freddie Mercury in particular. Again, I also mentioned this in another recent blog post.
So imagine my amazement and delight to have these two very different enthusiasms, merged together into a bizzare, surreal but fantastic performance last night!
Peter Kay - A Musical Maestro
As I mentioned in my 'Love of Laughter' blog mentioned above, I was due to attend with my Alyson, a Peter Kay concert in Cardiff having bought the tickets back almost a year ago. I've been a Peter Kay fan since he hit it big. His earthy, everyday sense of humour strikes a chord with everyone and as I mentioned before, he to me is a male version of Victoria Wood who is also beloved for her northern, no-nonsense take on life.
What the two have in common also is a musicality that adds to their comedy. Not only do they love their music but they can bring their day-to-day roots to life not ust through words, but through lyrics as well.
Peter has (for a comedian), a remarkable 6 Top 40 hits. 3 of those are No.1 hits - 'Is this the way to Amarillo' with Tony Christie, I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) and 'The Official BBC Children in Need Medley' featuring his animated all-star band. He also scored No.2 and No.5 hits as reality TV spoof contestant Geraldine McQueen and a No.6 hit with 'Sleep' alongside Texas.
At the start of the concert last night, before his big entrance, they played the videos to I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) and Sleep - a cracking way to get into the Peter Kay mood!
Here are a few samples of his genius. First of all, Geraldine McQueen's 'The Winners Song'.
Secondly, his fantastic animated tribute to our childhood heroes of today and yesterday for Children in Need last year. It was like an animated version of Band Aid!
Peter Kay - Live in Concert on the Tour That Doesn't Tour, Tour
So, we got to see the man himself in the flesh last night in Cardiff. Peter it should go without saying was on great form.
I think the general vibe was that the first half was a slow burner. He was good of course but with so many references to past comedic routines, it felt as if he's almost trapped by his own historic success.
But the second half really was Peter Kay at his cutting edge best. His humour again struck a chord with the 5,000 or so packed-out audience who were continuously in fits of laughter but he brought the main part of his act to a close with some fantastic observational references to modern musical songs that we all know and love. I won't go into the detail as it will spoil it for those who are yet to see him or who may buy the DVD when it will surely be released. All I'll say is buy it!
Freddie Mercury - A Reprise
The encore was outstanding. Peter's ability to play a shovel in time to legendary rock songs as if he was playing a guitar was superb! He then graduated to playing a 'double shovel'! The pyrotechnics must have been costly but brought the evening to a loud and fantastic conclusion as he concluded by paying homage to one of his boyhood favourite bands by dressing in a leotard and leading a closing rendition of 'We are the Champions'.
As the old saying goes, it had to be seen to be believed!
Genius, Genius, Genius
Peter Kay just has that ability to make the normal, extraordinary. He's an everyday Bolton lad who speaks our language and dreams our dreams.
But for me it's his musical ability that sets him apart from his contemporary comedians of today. I couldn't see a Jack Dee, a Michael McIntyre or a Jimmy or Alan Carr concluding a performance with such incredible levels of energy and enthusiasm as I witnessed last night.
The reason that Peter Kay is able to do it, is because he loves it. In all of his comedy and all of his music, he is paying tribute to a loved and wonderful past.
It is for that reason that we, in turn, love Peter Kay. The 5,000 of us there last night certainly did and I am now incredibly excited and proud to say that I saw him live, in the flesh and at his very best.