On Tuesday night I attended my 2nd full Darren Hayes concert (but the 6th time I have seen him sing live) and I have to agree with Darren himself who said it was the best gig of his life. I went unsure of what to expect – not having read any reviews due to this only being the 2nd night of the tour meant I didn’t know which songs he’d be singing (ie. Savage Garden, Spin or TTATS), what the venue was like (I hadn’t been to Shepherd’s Bush before) or even who the support act would be.
I arrived just in time and got to the front of the queue to get in to find that it was the wrong queue and the one I was meant to be in stretched almost right around the block! Once I got into the venue I made my way to the area in front of the stage which was already packed out and saw that the support act, called The Honeymoon, had just begun. I was very impressed with them as they were the kind of band whose own concert I’d happily go and see. The main singers were a blonde girl probably in her late 20s with an accent I thought was Irish (but turned out to be Icelandic!) and an absolutely gorgeous singing voice, and a boy with a guitar whose voice accompanied hers beautifully. Their own songs ranged from really great to a little boring, but they also did a cover of Running Up That Hill, which despite not being a huge Kate Bush fan I love thanks to Within Temptation’s recent excellent version, and it sounded great sung by The Honeymoon. I know a few people who will absolutely love them so I’ll definitely be recommending. I think Darren had learned from his previous mistake of opening with a dull DJ act on his last tour, as this band were perfectly suited to the audience.
Darren came on stage just after 9pm to huge excitement from the crowd and began his set with 3 songs from The Tension And The Spark – the lovely and personal Void, the new single Darkness and the sexy I Like The Way. These were followed by Strange Relationship, I Forgive You and to my immense delight, Break Me Shake Me, proving that TTATS is as much a return to the original SG sound as a brand new style for Darren.
The signature solo single Insatiable was next and then it was time for the iPod Karaoke Challenge where a member of the audience was pulled up on stage to choose a song from Darren’s iPod for him to sing next. She chose Hold Me (Shoul have gone for The Best Thing, silly woman) but Darren rectified the situation with an utterly fabulous rendition of I Want You. Then he sang his personal favourite, Unloveable, and absolutely amazing it was too. Following this with the beautiful Two Beds & A Coffee Machine, an emotional song which means a lot to many Savage Garden fans, was a genius idea and those three songs together had to be the highlight of the night for me.
One of the least innovative tracks from the album but still very lovely, Dublin Sky was next, followed by a few more Savage Garden favourites; Crash And Burn, which I had never heard him perform live before and Truly Madly Deeply. The final section of the show began with one of my top 3 singles of the year, Pop!ular, and my Mum’s favourite I Knew I Loved You. It only took the rhumble of the first chords of the next song for at least half the crowd to have their hands in the air in heart shapes. It is of course Affirmation, the song that turns any crowd into a Darren-worshipping cult. Everyone was singing along at the top of their voices and dancing crazily and no-one seemed to notice or care that they looked idiotic. If you haven’t seen Darren sing this song to a group of his biggest fans, you haven’t lived! There is really nothing like it.
The final song of the evening was Feel, which Darren explained was the other end of the spectrum to his opening song – we had travelled from dark to light. It was perhaps not the best song to end with as it’s nowhere near the best on the new album, let alone of all his songs, but that’s not to say it isn’t lovely.
The concert as a whole was absolutely fantastic – I thought the last show of his I saw in 2002 was unbeatable but Tuesday night proved me wrong. The combination of his incredible back-catalogue (the setlist was more like a list of my favourite songs of all time), the fabulous support act, his wonderfully dedicated and appreciative fans and his beautiful singing voice made it the perfect night out.