Stacey Solomon “Live”

Published by Rick on Tagged Uncategorized


                 This should be an easy one to criticize, and I won’t disappoint for those expecting it. I was really caught up in the whole atmosphere of this past weekend’s annual Dagenham Town Fair. I’ve been once before, can’t remember who was headlining because we didn’t stick around the main stage long enough. I do remember a really bad UB40 tribute band, who eventually ran out of UB40 songs and just started playing songs with some remote connection. I seem to remember them doing “Can’t Help Falling In Love” in a version more in tribute to Elvis’s original than to UB40’s remake.

                 The fair, in Dagenham’s Central Park, not to be confused with New York’s Central Park, has been going annually since time immemorial, and is a lovely gathering where my American accent blends in like ice cream on steak. Thousands of Essex-bred make their way through carnival rides, many MANY fast food booths, social service exhibitions, and live music on multiple stages. It’s a festival of dropped consonants, statements that sound like questions, and other grammatical atrocities performed on the English language. In my own masochistic way, I couldn’t wait to get there. Screw Radio 1’s Chart Show, I want to be among my peeps!

                  I got there about 5:00 on Sunday, with about two hours left before the fair essentially closed, and was meeting my friends Ellen & Phil and their daughter Matilda, who came all the way from Plaistow for this blessed event. Before heading to the wine booth, I noticed a booth selling the American delicacy Strawberry Shortcake. It was only 5:30, but the proprietor had been closed for awhile as nobody was interested in something remotely healthy when there were curries, kebabs, fish n chips, and lots of booze in competition. I did find a crepe booth run by a Frenchman whose accent was as alien as mine, and during the time he was making my crepe, the only other customer was a child who wanted a can of Coke. Lucky for the man he had that, or maybe his fate would have been the same as the strawberry shortcake lady.  

                   I met up with my friends near the main stage, where the re-formed R&B group Damage was performing. They sang to backing tracks predictably, and still had some kinks to work out if they were really planning to do this full time again. Vocals were way off on some songs, passable on others, but I’m sure a lot of that was due to a combination of faulty monitor speakers and being apart for 5-6 years. They were still better than the teen hip hop duo Kane preceding them, who did only 4 or 5 songs, but all of them seemed to have a “Woh-oh, Uh-oh” chorus inserted just for the audience’s sing-along benefit. “Let me hear YOU sing it” was almost a mantra for them, again reflecting what’s annoyed me about so many recent live pop performers, sometimes having the audience sing entire verses. It just sounds lazy and presumptuous. Damage thankfully didn’t do that, nor did the “Headliner.”

                   That headliner was indeed Stacey Solomon, who finished third in last year’s “X Factor” behind Olly Murs and Joe McElderry (Who?). She’s also a Dagenham native, and what so annoyed me last year about her was not her singing, but her being allowed to talk. Her singing was sometimes excellent, but when she had to speak, the Essex Girl showed in full regalia. (For those Americans reading that don’t know what Essex Girl is, think Jewish-American Princess, then take away the cultural advantage of being Jewish and American, add Blonde to that mix, and you’ve got Essex Girl.)  Thick accent + mumbly voice + a perennial giggle made it hard to separate the above-average singing from the person it was emanating from.

                       She appeared on stage in a radiant pink gown, and did her best to let the audience know how special this “homecoming” gig was to her. I THINK that’s what she was trying to say in between giggling and doing this continual wave to the crowd coupled with this smile that seemed to say “What else do I do up here?” She performed six, maybe seven songs in her set, all covers, all things she sung on “X Factor” except for a decent rending of Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know.” She sang in tune most of the time, was sometimes pleasant to listen to. It was only AFTER the show where I found something to hate about her, other than the fact that she shouldn’t be any more famous than your local karaoke winner.

                      After her performance, people queued up toward the side of the stage for photos and autographs. Now, Stacey hadn’t really worked that ridiculously long or hard in her 20-25 minutes, but she apparently needed all that extra time to recuperate. We’re waiting, only for Matilda’s benefit, for at least the length of Stacey’s set, and she never emerged in that time. The first question is Who the fuck do you think you are? Aretha? How busy ARE you at that point that it’s such a big deal to just walk out and greet a few hundred people? How dare this VERY lucky girl with the voice of an angel but the charisma of a chair start fancying herself as a diva! And doing that to your HOMETOWN fans? Bad move, girl.  

                      Last Thursday I saw Penn & Teller at the Hammersmith Apollo. I’ve known them for over 30 years, and wanted to say hello after the show, but immediately after they were done, they went out to the front of the theatre and exchanged greetings with any of the 2000 or so attendees who wished to do so. There were too many in line, so I passed on it, and later sent Penn a thank you note via Facebook. Let’s compare now: 2000 people, 2-hour show, out in public within five minutes; for Stacey, a 25-minute show to less than half that, and many of whom probably know her, still keeps them waiting 30 minutes. 

                        Enjoy this while you can, Stacey, because the next “X Factor” series starts in another month, and there’ll be a whole new crop of forgettables that will be convinced they’re famous. Then in another year or so, if you ever play the Dagenham Fair again, not likely as a headliner, see if you have even a tenth as many people waiting for you after your performance of probably the same tunes you did yesterday.

2 Responses to “Stacey Solomon “Live””

  1. David Says:

    Re Asshole’s who know nothing but think they know everything!

    Dear Rick alway’s wrong you sound like an analyl retentive but-wiping arse hole maybe it is you who needs to get a life !!!

    Do you know anything about Stacey NO!

    She was not even suppose to perform on Sunday and begged her management to let her as she already had 2 prior gigs that day.
    She was up 4am in the morning flew to Scotland had a gig then flew to London had a gig in Dartford then raced to Dagenham by which time YES SHE WAS BLOODY TIRED and wanted time with her family,
    She did do in all location Signings Meet and greets but in the back Stage she does not control who were and when. It is usually under privileged people at worst.
    Maybe you idiot you need to research before you try to be something you are NOT.

    She will fair better than you ever will so please don’t get carnied away.

    Last note to finish on

    Your a real fan of people being real people.

  2. Sam Says:

    I’m a real fan of people who can use a dictionary.

    I’m no fan of her singing but Stacey Solomon’s made a real effort to do something with whatever talents she has. How many of us can say the same?

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