Back in 2007 I discovered the television phenomenon that is Loose Women. It is a show that I connected with instantly and felt that the rapport I had with my TV set was just as strong as that the ladies on the panel had. One of these delightful panellists is Yorkshire lass Jane McDonald. Since starring on 'The Cruise', Jane's voice has become known all over. She has a great vocal range with almighty lungs that will take any song by storm. Combining these factors with her wonderful sense of humour makes Jane such an asset to Loose Women. I'd seen her briefly outside ITV studios but running behind schedule, she didn't have time to stop. However that quick few seconds I saw her in front of me, I was blown away. So when I found out that she had another concert lined up, I jumped at the chance of going.
Unfortunately the closest concert to me was being held at Dundee in the Caird Hall. Though since I am such a fan of Jane's music, I was willing to pay the price of ticket and travel. The ticket itself for the concert, bought from Ticketmaster, cost just short of thirty pound, which I think is a delightful price to pay! With a return train ticket costing just twelve pound, I was getting to see Jane McDonald live for barely fifty pound! For me, that is a real bargain! Less than a week later the tickets flung through my letter box, and all that was left to do was wait a few months until it was time to go!
The concert in Dundee was on the 3rd September, so I wasn't expecting glorious sunshine. However when I woke up on the morning and saw that the sky had opened and the rain was belting down, my heart sank. I didn't want the weather to damped my mood before the event. What was worse though was I still had to get through the whole day before catching the train! Finally I walked off to the train station and boarded the train at five o clock completely soaked through. The internet on my phone wasn't working and I had a headache. So far, things weren't going terribly well.
After a long and dull journey I finally arrived in Dundee. I'd never been to Dundee before so prior to my journey I had drawn up a little guide with the help of Bing Maps so I could find my way to the theatre. I trotted along in the pouring rain again (I'd hoped it was different in Dundee!), and found Caird Hall no bother. The building itself is quite grand. There are ten or so large pillars at the front of the long building sheltering it, and there are a few steps you have to climb up (disabled are able to enter through the stage door), before you come to the main doors. At this point, it was just after half six and I had to stand thankfully for no longer than fifteen minutes in the cold before the doors were opened and I could find my seat.
I was situated in the stalls – M7. 'M' is quite a long way down the alphabet so I'd imagined I would be seated quite far back in the hall, but to my surprise I discovered that I was just twelve rows from the front. This was the first concert I'd been to so I did expect a bigger gap between the stage and the first row, so only much to my delight was I proven wrong. After an impatient wait, half seven finally arrived and the musicians walked onto the stage, picking up their instruments as the audience glared at them. The hall went dark and we were told to give a huge welcome to Jane McDonald. Naturally, we all started clapping and cheering (not so much cheering as about 70% of the audience were over 50!). Jane walked out onto the stage as the spotlight hit her, and I gasped. She was seen in the most gorgeous dress I've ever seen – aquamarine blue with a mermaid style fin at the bottom. It was utterly gorgeous! And then she opened her mouth and the evening just got better! The first song she sang I didn't know, but the second was the one I had prayed for! After performing 'It's Getting Better' on the Loose Women end of season finale this year, I'd fallen in love with the song and this was what she sang next. I must have looked quite peculiar as the biggest smile broadened across my face.
In between songs Jane would talk to the audience, which is always a comfort. She told jokes, such as one about a brown paper bag who wasn't feeling well, and putting money between her butt cheeks. She also interacts with her musicians, especially the piano player (who is also the voice of the Compare the 'Meerkat' adverts!) and her backing singers. One backing singer out of the three particularly stood out for me: Jo Boyd. That woman has such an energetic personality, and an amazing voice too – she took centre stage at one point, and it was most amusing to see Jane with the backing singers. Jane mentioned Loose Women a few times, and also talked about her mother a bit. To my delight, Jane's mam was also in the audience, and Jane had the house lights put on so we could all turn round and see her. I was delighted at this, and her mam must be so proud!
After the break, which lasted about twenty five minutes, Jane came back on and before any stage lights were on, you could see her twinkling away on the stage. As soon as the lights did come up, she sparkled with every movement. She wore a deep red dress which, to the delight of the men in the audience, had a slit at the side which came up to her thigh. Whenever she moved the slightest, it would seem that she had a thousand gems sewn onto her. She truly looked like a firework in the night. The second half of the show is the more emotional part, where she sings more meaningful songs, such as The Hand That Leads Me, Even Now and One Voice. She actually brought a tear to my eye, which was no surprise to me as even 'mp3 Jane McDonald' makes me weep!
After more joking and chatting to the audience, Jane finished off the show with a lively melody of various songs after she'd received her standing ovation. The majority of the audience were on our feet, dancing and clapping along to the music. Her voice echoed all around, and despite its volume it was one of the most beautiful sounds I've ever heard. Within the space of two hours I'd gone through a roller coaster ride of emotions, faced with excitement and nerves, as well as being too emotional for my own good! When Jane walked off the stage into the wings at the end, and the houselights came up, I could have cried! I could have stayed there forever and listened to her amazing voice. It's like nothing I've ever experienced before. It gives me such joy and such hope – and I owe it all to you, Jane!