Sunday, 4 July 2010

Des O'Connor Congress Theatre Eastbourne 2010 Review

Des O'Connor
Congress Theatre
3rd July 2010

We grew up with Des O'Connor. Well no, not literally. But both with mothers who adored the likes of Des together with Val Doonican, Max Bygraves, Neil Sedaka and similar artists we were drip-fed "easy listening" music from birth.

Des O'Connor albumI fully expect that there are many others in our generation who were fed such a musical diet with many 60's rock 'n roll dishes thrown in to the mix.

Eventually becoming teens in the late 70's and choosing our own musical preferences of the 80's we are a generation who can probably appreciate what some may see as a bizarre variety of music. It does, however, still result in the occasional odd look when you go to the likes of a Des O'Connor show when you are about 20 years younger than the average audience member.

Having mentioned the 80's, fans of the decade's music may appreciate a reminder that Level 42 are at Eastbourne's Congress Theatre on 19th October 2010 (01323 412000 all tickets £25 and no - I'm not on commission or connected with the theatre)

Des O'Connor on tour 2010 as sprightly 78Anyway, back to Des. If you are lucky and have collected all his records you may have in your collection one of the rare 78s. Yes most of Des's records were the standard 45 or 33 1/3 rpm issues but there are a few 78s scattered around the world.
To the right you see another 78...... Des at 78 years young..... and as I am sure you can tell from this and the other images on this page  he is still performing just as reliably as his old vinyls.

Des thank you for uttering at the beginning of your show those words that are rarely spoken by any artist these days. "If you wish to take photos please do so. When you enter show-business you must expect to have your photo taken it goes with the job." I  have always abided by the no photography rule when applied by performers so it is always refreshing when the likes of Des realize that photography provides great memories and for somebody, like me, who is trying just to promote theatre it makes the feature that much more interesting, especially for lifelong fans.

Des O'Connor at the Congress Theatre 2010Des performs the whole show himself. After all who needs a warm up when you are a versatile master of comedy and musical performance?

He strolled on at the start to very appreciative applause from the Eastbourne audience. I have to say that given the age demographics of Hastings/Bexhill/Eastbourne/Brighton and surrounding areas I thought the size of the crowd was disappointing. But it's nothing to do with the artist - it just seems to be par for the course in theatres at the moment.

The first half of the show Des uses mainly for recounting memories, comedy and a few songs, together with requests. Much of the time is spent in two way banter with the audience. As his pianist/musical director left the stage for a short while Des made a genuine offer to the audience. He asked if anybody in the crowd could play the piano and no matter how good or bad they were he would sing along and sign one of his albums as a thank you.

Des O'Connor entertaining the Eastbourne audienceAt other theatres Des has had people take him up on the offer (he could even end up singing  Happy Birthday, a Christmas carol or a nursery rhyme if that's all someone could play), but sadly either nobody in this relatively elderly 450-500 strong audience could play anything or they had stage fright.

On 22nd August 2010 Des comes back "down south" to Worthing Pavilion. So people of East and West Sussex from the time I write this you have six weeks to dust off the piano or keyboard and to practice playing anything at all that Des could sing to. It would be nice if, in Worthing, he makes the same offer that a few hands went up rather than the rather rather sad Eastbourne response. Audience participation can be a great highlight of a show. Fortunately this show did not rely on it to be thoroughly entertaining. Those who wish to catch this show in Worthing can book on 01903 206206 (again I have no connection with this or any other  theatre)

Somewhat bizarrely Des is probably the only person who has had the mickey taken out of his music all his life, particularly by other comedians (the late Eric Morecambe being the first), and yet that has publicized his music and his easy going personality all the more. As a result he has sold millions of records and still continues to release albums today with Inspired being the latest.

Talking of Inspired how nice it is also to see an artist who doesn't try to milk every last penny from their audience for their merchandise. Des's album was just £5 and his £18.99 RRP hardback biography a mere £10 (a super book). If you are not "Stage Door Shy" he'll sign them too. I would advise anybody seeing Des's Shows to consider buying his items because, believe me, he is good value compared to most well known artists! (Des please send my commission cheque to ......... :) )

Des O'Connor 2010 tourAfter the interval the rest of the Des's band join him on stage and there is a great balance of music and laughter in the remaining part of the show. He also continues to demonstrate why he has also had such a successful TV presenting career as his reminiscences of people and artists who have influenced him remain fascinating.

Happily married to Jodie and with his youngest child ,5 year old Adam, keeping him on his toes at home Des O'Connor remains as active and entertaining as ever. I certainly hope we see him touring again soon as he went down very well with the Congress Theatre crowd.

Oh and Des, if you happen to read this. If you can remember the message you asked us to pass on to Ken Dodd the following night, if we met him, we'll we did just that. The reply was "Oh isn't that nice.................... what's he after?". Thought you'd find that response as funny as we did.... there's only one Ken Dodd!

5 out of 5 for Des O'Connor
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  1. I totally agree, Des is amazing, and I love his show, visit
    for more pictures, and snippets of his new album



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