On Thursday night myself and The Tinsel On My Tree were joined by Ms H Arnold for a trip to the traditional turning on of the Christmas Lights in The Olympic Village (where I live, but don't like to go on about it). In previous years this has variously featured local choirs, snow machines, Street Artistes and light shows, but this year's one was focused on the fact that the lights were being turned on by EAST 17! All right, TWO of East 17 (not Tony or Brian) anyway, but it was still quite exciting, although when I heard the PA being soundchecked on my way home it sounded more like The Jesus & Mary Chain, such was the INTENSE VOLUME. It was LOUD!
We got to the event at 6.30pm, just in time to hear the MC say that East 17 would be onstage at 7.00pm, so we popped into our Mother Kelly's where it was warmer, quieter, and had BEER. When we emerged at 7.00pm we were just in time to hear the MC say that East 17 would be on at 7.30pm, so we had a wander round, listened to a GRATE steel drum band doing "Feliz Navidad", watched the lights get turned on (not by East 17) and managed to sneak into the lobby of a nearby building where it was warmer, quieter, but sadly had no BEER.
This time we waited until East 17 were actually announced before we came out, and got into the crowd just in time to see the group take to the stage. I wonder if Tony Mortimer had done the backing tape for them as a favour? It certainly sounded like the original, though it was a bit odd hearing it sung like someone from an X Factor audition rather than Brian Harvey, and also to have holiday camp band audience participation addded, like him singing "Oggie Oggie Oggie" and then holding out the microphone for us to go "Oi Oi Oi". I'm pretty sure that wasn't in the original version.
They started off with "House Of Love" and then did another one which caused most of the crowd to google "East 17 hits" on their phones to work out what it was. There were a few songs that weren't hugely familiary, though they did do "Its Alright" (NB MY REVIEW OF THE GIG) at (I think) the end. They definitely finished on something that wasn't "Stay Another Day", which led to the whole crowd standing around going. "Eh? What? That can't be it can it?" We expected an encore, but then the event MC then came on and - VERY STUPIDLY - pretended like that genuinely was the end, and started thanking people for coming. This was IDIOTIC as the atmosphere took a TURN and people started ACTIVELY BOOING, at which point he went "Oh, it sounds like we forgot something..." I guess he thought this would be HILARIOUS, but it very much was not!
East 17 came back on in WHITE PARKAS and did, of course, "Stay Another Day" with the SNOW MACHINE at full pelt and everything felt VERY FESTIVE. They THEN came back on to "say a few things" and I cannot have been the only person who wondered if it might be them taking a chance to slag off Tony Mortimer or something. Thankfully it was NOT that - what they wanted to say was that the non-original member was actually the bloke from ARTFUL DODGER and then launched into one of THEIR hits! It wasn't particularly Christmassy, and it was also COLD, so we decided to go somewhere WARM and with BEER again instead!
Next year I'm hoping we get "Naughty Christmas" by Fat Les with only Damien Hirst from the original line-up, joined by one of TrueSteppers on tambourine!