Having waited patiently while fans across the USA, the UK and Europe enjoyed The Violet Flame Tour, Sunday finally saw my turn to see the band live. I purposely avoided any video footage or recordings so everything would be new to me - and I'm glad I did!
It was refreshing to hear new arrangements for all the songs, with most tracks having an extended, very dance oriented re-working which made this tour feel unique and fresh. For a few songs, I had to wait until Andy started singing to realise what song was being performed, such was the departure of these mixes to their album counterparts (You Surround Me in particular was a thumbing dance track completely unlike the version we all know and love!). For the first time on the tour, Make It Wonderful was performed (with Andy needing a lyric sheet to help remember all the words!) replacing Reason on the setlist. Andy was on good form throughout, talking to the crowd and dancing in his unique style. Costume changes were kept to a minimum and whilst performing in drag is now a thing of the past, Andy did still end up in glittery hot pants!
Particular highlights for me included Star (this is rarely performed), new song Dead Of Night and the crowd-pleasers of Love To Hate You and Always. Also, the acapella rendition of Gaudete (see below for video) in the encore was particularly impressive and it showcases why Andy is one of the best singers in the business.
It was also a pleasure to meet Roy & Geoff and Jim & his wife on the day (not to mention my meet and great with Andy and Vince beforehand!). The majority of the tour is now over but those going to the remaining shows are in for a treat.