DONNY OSMOND – BRIGHTON CENTRE 12.12.23
Right then Donny Osmond fans, we have a real treat for you! Not only is there the review below, but there is another different review to read with more photos available on the Brighton & Hove News website HERE.
As we enter the Brighton Centre foyer, there are mainly excited 60 plus year old ladies dressed in sparkly costumes for an evening out, on the verge of being taken back to their teenage years, and their teenage dreams coming to fruition….. (me included but not quite 60). People are holding mementoes possibly from the 1970’s – there is a man with a doll of “Marie” who is holding a banner that says “Donny”. The merchandise is flying off the stall with items such as t-shirts, tote bags, albums and cups being available. Mobile phones out, selfies being taken, general chatter of hopes to hear certain songs; ‘Puppy Love’, ‘Go Away Little Girl’, ‘Crazy Horses’? Who knows what we will hear tonight.
Before entering the auditorium, we (being hubby and myself – and yes, he was “dragged along”) chatted to a couple of ladies who had travelled from Windsor to be there. Sue came down to enjoy the seaside and show with her friend Linda as neither of their husbands were interested. Linda has already been to the two previous shows, is now watching the Brighton show and will be heading off to the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith to watch the show again – such is the dedication of some of the fans here tonight.
We take our seats – the place is packed – this is a sell-out concert!…….I’m sat next to Wendy who has travelled from Wales! She used to work at the Brighton Centre and is here tonight to relive and make some more memories; she still has a photo taken backstage with Donny when she was in her youth.
Bang on 8pm, the music starts, a roar goes up, eight dancers come on stage, then the roar gets louder as the man himself Donny Osmond enters stage left straight into the first hit of the night ‘Soldier Of Love’. Cue the mobile phones being held up recording the performance and taking photos. Two more hits are belted out, then the one song that must be his most famous……..’Puppy Love’. Arms are up and waving, some people holding scarves, and I would say 90% of the audience joined in with the singing – I think the other 10% that weren’t singing were the menfolk.
It’s 6 years since Donny has performed in the UK, and it seems his residency in Las Vegas has truly rubbed off – he is a real showman. He thanked everyone for supporting him through his six decades of performing. Yes, six decades and he is only just 66 himself born on 9th December 1957). His 65th (yes 65th) album has just been released – that’s nearly one a year since birth! His first TV appearance was with Andy Williams at the tender age of five. It was apparent that Donny thinks very highly of Mr Williams. Donny seems to have done everything; been in the ultimate boyband with his brothers (The Osmonds), starred in musicals ‘Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’, been on ‘The Masked Singer’ as a peacock – and although didn’t win, he was runner up. He’s been a game show host, starred in his own show with his sister Marie, voiced over in the animated series ‘Johnny Bravo’, starred in ‘Friends’ and other TV series; all of this was summed up in a rap song entitled ‘Auto-Rap-Ography’ – look it up on YouTube – it really was / is quite something, with footage from the archives being shown on screen. Anyway, back to the rest of tonight’s performance.
This we found the most amazing part of the show. Donny asked the audience what songs they would like sung, from any of his 65 albums that had been released (now that is one heck of a choice when you think about it!) – totally improvised, no stooges in the audience. ‘A Time For Us’ was called out. The band played and Donny started signing – not all of the song was sung, but it was certainly enough to prove that the band were consummate professionals. Next, Donny came off the stage to enter the audience. To the left of the stage from where we were sitting, Donny climbed over the barriers and spoke to Liz who asked for the ‘Twelfth Of Never’. Then four rows down in front of us a request for ‘This Is The Moment’. Next he’s stopped by someone who wants just a hug. By now, most of the auditorium is on its feet – waiting and hoping that Donny will get close enough for them to touch or hug, or to be asked what song they would like. ‘Go Away Little Girl’ is next on the request list, then right in front of us Donny and the security guards climb over the barrier. Eva has requested ‘Love Me For A Reason’, but Donny says this is starting the second half of the show, and is special, so ‘Too Young’ is requested. ‘Are You Up There’, ‘Young Love’, ‘When I Fall In Love’, and Donny is practically dragged up the stairs to Carol who is 66 today. What did she want sung? Her answer was “just sing anything to me Babe……….”. One last request before heading back to the “safety” of the stage is ‘Lovely Boy’ to which Donny replies he’s never sung, but he has sung ‘Lonely Boy’………. I think the requester was a bit star struck.
A huge crowd of fans has now gathered in front of the stage – it really is “Osmondmania” all over again. Once back on the stage, Donny said he heard a gent call out for ‘Crazy Horses’ – so to counteract all the love songs sung the wildness of the electric guitar is struck and ‘Crazy Horses’ is sung. I have never seen anything like this – and will probably never witness it again. It is a memory that will stay with me. ‘One Bad Apple’ is now sung and to close the first half of the show beach balls that light up in different colours are passed into the audience and batted around while we all join in singing ‘We’re Having A Party’ – and we really are.
During the interval there are newspaper headlines, and photos being shown on the screens. One of the newspaper headlines was “I found it hard no longer being a teen idol”. Well Mr Osmond, you might not be an idol to the teens, but those teens are now grown and still love you – it is very apparent tonight.
I decided to speak to at least one of the very few gents that were here tonight; Gerry. He hadn’t been dragged along, but was a genuine fan and had been from the start. Gerry said……..“I saw Donny & Marie 6 years ago. It was a completely different show to this. There is so much energy this time and has audience participation. It’s a fabulous show”…………
The second half starts, and Donny announces that his brothers are joining him on stage. A huge gasp is heard and a few choice expletives at the shock and excitement of this (hands up – me too!). But, it is just Donny playing a joke. His brothers are sort of with us – but in a video. The last video that Donny recorded with them. You can hear the passion and love he has for his brothers in his voice as he talks about them. ‘Love Me For A Reason’ as Donny had said to the request for it is the opening song of the second act.
Now sat at the piano, Donny belts out ‘Start Again’ – this is the only track he plays piano during the show. ‘Donny’s Back In Town’ has the real Las Vegas vibe about it. It has a real “jazz” feel to it with Donny and his dancers tap dancing. ‘Viva Las Vegas’, ‘Luck Be A Lady Tonight’ quickly follow. Everything has had a feel good factor this evening.
The concept of this evening’s show had been to look back over the past 60 years of Donny’s showbiz life. He found VHS copies of the ‘Donny & Marie’ show which he said he watched 3 or 4 times and then made a montage of what he felt were the best bits. It’s the end of what has been an amazing show. Fans are now 7 or 8 deep at the front of the stage (there is no way security is getting them back in their seats). He is touching hands with as many as he can and really making memories for the die-hard fans that are down there.
Donny has shown how much he cares for his fans, his love for his brothers and sister, his gratitude to his (and his brothers) “mentor” Andy Williams, and a love for performing.
I feel privileged to have been in the audience this evening. Thank you.
Donny Osmond setlist:
‘Soldier Of Love’
‘Puppy Love’ (Paul Anka cover)
‘Close Every Door’ (Andrew Lloyd Webber cover)
‘I’ll Make A Man Out Of You’
‘Breeze On By’
“Audience Request Segment”
‘One Bad Apple’ (The Osmonds tune)
‘We’re Having A Party’ (The Osmonds tune)
‘Love Me For A Reason’ (The Osmonds tune)
“Las Vegas Tribute” (‘Donny’s Back In Town’ / ‘Come Rain Or Come Shine’ / ‘Viva Las Vegas’ / ‘Luck Be A Lady’)
‘Moon River’ (Henry Mancini cover)
‘In My Life’ (Donny and Marie tribute) (The Beatles cover)
‘Let’s All Dance’
‘Never Going To Say Goodbye’