Review: Huge, Grand Opera House, York

IT may be the bleak midwinter, the Christmas and New Year festivities may be but be a distant memory and snow may even be drifting outside your front door as you read this on “Blue Monday” – said to be the most depressing day of the year.

But almost a thousand people found a way to beat the winter blues on Saturday night. They braved the slush to head for York's Grand Opera House for a joyful, fun-filled evening with Huge.

This extraordinary party band, marking the 20th anniversary of its first gig at the venue, has probably never sounded so good, with a cracking four-piece horn section and a dazzling light show to match. The intimate interior of the opera house probably has the edge for atmosphere on the band's other favourite York venue, the more cavernous Barbican.

Larger-than-life frontman “Big Ian” Donaghy was clearly enjoying the evening as much as the audience and, as usual, had the audience in the palm of his hand, getting everyone clapping, singing, stomping and dancing as best they could in the narrow confines of the seating during the second half.

The concert began with a thunderous Live And Let Die, and then ran through an eclectic mix of songs, ranging from classics by the Stones, The Who, Queen and Elton John to more recent works by the likes of Adele.

There was also Madness and Northern Soul, and the evening finished with the ultimate singalong, The Proclaimers’ 500 Miles, which I was still whistling to myself as we walked home.

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