Review: Grand Departy Concert, Huntington Stadium, York
DESPITE the rain, the wellies and the anoraks it wasn't quite Glastonbury.
Organisers had hoped the Grand Departy, on the eve of the start of the Tour De France, would have attracted crowds of 5,000 or more. Sadly,the figure was probably more like 1,500. In a venue, like the Barbican, this would have created a great atmosphere, but at a site as large as Huntington Stadium the fans was like peas on a drum.
Due to work commitments (there was a big race or something about to start) we didn't get to the concert till after 7pm and rather disappointingly missed several of the acts including Altered Images, Brother Beyond and York's very own Huge and Alistair Griffin. Thankfully, we did miss most of the rain though.
Our first band were X-Factor finalists Rough Copy and Britain's Got Talent finalists Loveable Rogues who got the crowd, well mainly the teenagers, whipped up.
The Blow Monkeys provided a blast from the past, but it wasn't until The Overtones took to the stage did the evening really start. These five likeable lads had the crowd baying for more, but like all of the acts that night it was four songs and you're off! Fewer bands and more time on stage would have been much better in my view.
Kian Egan, the former Westlife star and jungle king of I'm A Celebrity Get me Out Of Here, was up next. I expected a cheesy set of old Westlife ballads, but how wrong I was. Egan had a raspy, rocky voice and his version of the King's Of Leon's Sex On Fire was the highlight of the night.
'Headliners' Union-J were the penultimate act and one which the young girls in the crowd had come for. I spent all their set with my nine-year-old daughter Zara on my shoulders screaming in my ear, and George apparently waved at her too!
The evening ended with a Last Night Of The Proms-style finale. Out came the Union Flags and giant yellow Tour de France hands as Russell 'The Voice' Watson belting out Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, Jerusalem, You Lift Me Up and our unofficial national anthem Land Of Hope And Glory (which he did twice for good measure).
'There's going to be fireworks," Watson boomed to the excited crowd. Great, thought the kids. Three or four flashes on either side of the stage and a few crackles and that was that though! A fun night but probably not as explosive as everyone, organisers included, had hoped for.