A very special night unfurls in South Kensington as John Grant exhibits a two-hour masterclass to a standing ovation.
By George Meixner
The sound quality inside the Albert Hall is stunning. This means the leg-wobbling bass and the quiet balladic piano moments strike with equal effect. Crisp vocals, varied and pyrotechnic lighting also create the fundamental base for some glorious music and surprise guests.
A fan of languages, Grant explains the context behind the title of one of his latest tracks. ‘Grey Tickles’ are what the Icelandic brand their mid-life crisis, while ‘Black Pressure’ translates to ‘nightmare’ from Turkish. The fun, but oxymoronic seriousness of this kind of wordplay typifies what is great about the man. He can do both, usually at the same time.
Cate Le Bon joins him on the stage for ‘Torn Between Two Lovers’ because, well, why not? Mr. Grant says it best by introducing her as a “delicious treat”.
Soon afterwards, Richard Hawley chips in. On the setlist it is amusingly (and incorrectly noted as) ‘Disappointing with RICHARD HAWLEY’. No disappointment occurs. Although it’s tough to say whether the stage “got 65% sexier” as a result of this appearance, it was apt that Hawley follows ‘GMF’ and so the crowd are duly pumped for this second surprise.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more surprising, Kylie Minogue jumps out from behind the metaphorical sofa for a touching duet of ‘Glacier’. John Grant, while admitting he had “nothing eloquent to say about this song”, respectfully sets it against the backdrop of what happened in Orlando. Conversely of course, the song itself is full of so much emotional truth and gorgeous resonance that it gives everyone goose bumps. Kylie was very sweet and much like the guests before her, exited without fuss, but with much fanfare from the applauding masses.