Bristol concert review
Ok, first things first, I am a massive East 17 fan so I’ll apologise if this review may sound a little biased. To even things up I took my nine year old daughter along to the gig (her first one!). My plan was to convert her away from all the cheesy pop tunes she has become accustomed to and introduce her to quality pop/dance/r&b tunes that her dad used to and still does listen to; she jumped at the chance, especially after I sat her down in front of YouTube to “educate” her.
For the past 20 years I’ve been listening to East 17 albums and the various incarnations of their greatest hits and they never get old, so when a comeback was announced I was over the moon and rounded up a group of mates of similar age as well as my little girl and started to get excited about 1st September 2011, the day East 17 come to Bristol.
I have to be honest; convincing everybody that East 17 should be held in such high regard as I hold them has not been easy. For some reason over the course of the last 20 years the name East 17 has regrettably become synonymous with bad publicity, band fall-outs, and failed reunions, however the bands back catalogue of classic tunes remains as strong as ever and those songs were the only bait I needed to lure old school friends to the O2 academy to be reacquainted with the biggest and best boy band of the 1990s.
The evening started with the realisation that this comeback tour wasn’t going to be selling out arenas all over the country, (yet!). We clambered into a small(ish) upstairs room of the O2 Academy that holds about 400 people, but “hey ho - at least it will feel intimate” we thought.
After a few good quality warm up acts, especially Dorian Graze, who went down a storm, it was time for us to be reintroduced to the one and only East 17. Tony Mortimer, Terry Coldwell, John Hendy and newcomer Blair Dreelan. Yes the band was missing one ingredient from yesteryear, a Mr Brian Harvey – he has been replaced with Blair and it didn’t matter a single iota. Blair has a wonderful voice and an even better temperament and attitude, he only added to the feel good vibe of the gig. Blair’s voice I would say is as good as Brians, and although sceptical at first I can honestly say, regrettably Brian, you will not be missed.
Opening their set with their signature track “House of Love” the atmosphere exploded, men and women of all ages dancing and singing along, and then it was hit after hit after hit as the crowd jumped higher and higher, a room crammed with 300 odd people all full of energy and smiles as the boys blasted out all the old favourites, Let it Rain, Deep, Thunder, If u Ever and more. Every track is instantly recognisable and as good as they have always been. It was as if the whole room had time travelled back the good old 1990’s, there wasn’t a single person in the room that was not dancing and singing along to every line the boys blasted out.
The new look band seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as the crowd were, bantering with each other as well as the audience and really soaking up the atmosphere that their greatest hits can’t help but create. The gig ended with a rendition of “Its Alright” as well as introducing the crowd to their new offering “Secret of my Life”, and it seemed to go down well, people already singing along as if it was just another one of their many classics – well done Tony, you’ve still got it!
As I said before this review may have been a bit biased, with me being a big fan, but when I asked my daughter what she thought of the group, she replied with the fact that she loved every minute of it, and she thinks Blair is her favourite. My little girl is now officially a fan and I’ll be making sure she stays that way, constantly reminding her of her first gig, and the awesome music she heard for the first time – and yes you will be getting East 17’s Greatest Hits for Christmas!
After the lights came up the boys spent some time meeting the fans and we got the chance to meet Blair and Terry who were both more than happy for a quick chat and a photo and they were as charming off stage as they were on it, polite, cool and most importantly happy.
My only hope is that they don’t give up and keep on touring, it won’t be long until they will be back where they belong, fighting Take That all the way to the number 1 spots in our charts. Well done and all the best boys.
And here is Paul's daughter Kaci Leigh's review of the gig!
My first ever concert by Kaci Leigh Holbrook
Last night I went to town with my dads and his friends, we went to two pubs and then we went into a big room where lots of bands are playing but we really went there to see East 17! We were all dancing and singing and having a fantastic time especially my dad! We were all jumping around and I loved some of the songs.
I filmed it all and when they finished me, my dad and his friends sat in this seating area where only VIP’s were allowed. I was a VIP with my VIP sticker on so was allowed into the area.
Then the boys from the support band Dorian Graze came in and me and my friend had a photo with them. Then we went outside where East 17 were and I had a photo with Terry and the lead singer Blair and then we all walked up the street and had a fabulous night especially me and my dad. The band was just absolutely amazing, they were so full of energy and it was really good singing. I had a smashing time.