Sunday was the hottest day of the year here in the UK, with temperatures reaching up to 32 degrees! What better time then to decide to drive halfway across the country with the joy of in-car air-conditioning…
Of course, this isn’t the end of the story, as I was travelling to High Wycombe to go and see the marvellous SuRie on the latest leg of her “Eurovision Unplugged” tour at the Swan Theatre.
SuRie represented the United Kingdom in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, and we all remember that she had the worst of experiences, when her staging was invaded by an activist (who I won’t name, as the last thing I want to do is give him more publicity :p ) Despite having her microphone grabbed and being visibly shaken, SuRie continued to sing her entry “Storm” to rapturous applause from the Lisbon audience, and ended up a respectable 24th place.
Straight off the back of her Lisbon performance, SuRie embarked on her “Eurovision Unplugged” tour which has been visiting towns in the United Kingdom since the week after the Grand Final. The tour is coming to a close now, but my ticket was booked and even though there was a scare about the date clashing with the football World Cup Final, and also the Wimbledon Men’s Final in tennis, there was a slight change of venue and the show went ahead.
There was a small audience, which was understandable given the weekend that the show was held, but we were greeted by just SuRie and a piano, but we needn’t have worried as this was all that was needed for a terrific show!
SuRie has been studying Eurovision classics, and has put her own acoustic takes on some of the most famous ones, Waterloo, Making Your Mind Up, Puppet on a String, and a trio of Johnny Logan’s were included in the mix. However she also shared with us her takes on her previous two appearances, where she was a back up singer for Belgium in 2015 and 2017.
SuRie’s acoustic version of Blanche’s “City Lights” showed us what an important part of that performance she was, and her take on Loic Nottet’s “Rhythm Inside” tested her vocals as she added some wonderful melodies to the original.
We were also treated to Carl Espen’s “Silent Storm” from 2014, with a clever nod to her own “Storm” in the instrumental breaks. Alexander Rybak’s “Fairytale” was also given an outing, following a hilarious anecdote about her one and only meeting with him before the flag ceremony at the Grand Final in Lisbon on May 12th!
As a bonus, SuRie performed “This Is Me” from the film “The Greatest Showman” which she told us was used as her vocal warm up prior to performances in Lisbon and also her earlier song called “Storm” which appears on her 2016 release “Something Beginning With…” and is well worth a listen (go to Spotify here)
Of course, the audience were all waiting for her Eurovision entry, and she told us that it would be wrong not to play this year’s song … and then broke into a marvellous stripped down version of the eventual winner, Netta’s “Toy” much to the delight of the crowd! She then sang “Storm” for us and this ended an incredible concert, one of the most enjoyable one I have attended
SuRie, had some lovely words for the assembled crowd, with some special thank yous, and then she said that to thank us properly, she would meet us all outside in the sunshine.
I had the pleasure of meeting SuRie for the first time at a press event at the BBC in London, prior to You Decide and we had such a giggle, I knew that whatever would happen in Brighton the following week, she would be remembered for a long time. Following her emphatic win at You Decide, I also got to chat with her at the press conference, but given that this was some months ago and she has obviously been through a lot since then, it was testament to her character that she looked straight at me and said “I know you!” We had a lovely chat, and she is just a genuinely nice person.
Here’s my interview with her from before You Decide
Sadly, there is just one more show to go to the end of her tour, but if you get the opportunity to catch her at the Redgrave Theatre in Bristol this coming Sunday 22 July at 3pm then do it, you won’t regret it! Thank you SuRie, you will be a fan favourite for many years to come.
Watch SuRie’s full performance from the Grand Final of the 63rd Eurovision Song Contest which was held in the Altice Arena in Lisbon here