Back in 2006 (when, it seems from a casual glance through the posts, I blogged little and often - the pre-Twitter age, y'see - making me feel very guilty) I went to see The Divine Comedy at Somerset House. Then, in 2010, I went to see The Divine Comedy at Somerset House. Again. How far I've come. Now, I rather waxed lyrical about the gig last time, and, surprise surprise, I rather waxed lyrical about the Tabernacle gig too, so I'm desperate not to simply bang on about how wonderful Neil Hannon is. But the fact is he just doesn't leave me any choice.
In terms of the songs, the new album Bang Goes The Knighthood boasts some instant classics (notably Down In The Street Below, When A Man Cries and I Like, which several audience members actually shouted out for) and, as everything 'required' for these new tracks is there in the piano, at these solo gigs we are hearing them just as they were written. As Neil said himself, this was also a 'Promenade-fest', with Geronimo, Don't Look Down, and, of course, Tonight We Fly all appearing, along with the sublime Our Mutual Friend and Your Daddy's Car. There were nice touches particular to this gig too, like an extended segue into Blue Monday during At The Indie Disco ("we probably don't have a licence for this!"). And in terms of showmanship, Neil clearly revels being alone with the audience - drawing enjoyment and enthusiasm from his fans, who here happily harmonised and provided backing vocals on the likes of Songs of Love and Pop Singer's Fear of the Pollen Count.
Two PSs to this: 1) I went to this gig with lovely Momma Waits (the original Divine Comedy fan in the family), and we both passed Neil in Leicester Square a few hours before the gig, much to our repressed excitement and 2) Concert Live recorded the gig, and if you preordered a CD, you could pick it up the moment the last note was played. So I did. Which is nice.