If anything was going to get me back blogging, it was Jamie Muscato’s first solo concert (surprise surprise, my last post on here was about him starring in a one-man show. I’ll never change!)
This isn’t going to be a review or even really a proper blog post, because I’m way too biased for a review and not coherent enough for a proper blog post, so it’s just going to be me rambling on for a bit.
Jamie opened the show with a Disney medley of ‘Under the Sea’, ‘The Bare Necessities’, and ‘Cruella de Vil’ which had everyone laughing and was definitely a great way to break the ice.
Next, Jamie took us back to his first professional job, Spring Awakening. I might have had to wait 10 years but I finally got to hear Jamie sing Melchior and Moritz, and actually hear the Georg ‘Touch Me’ solo riff live – I only ever got to see Jamie on in his swing role. Honestly the concert could’ve ended then and I would have been content but there were so many more treats to come.
Jamie followed the Spring Awakening set with a song by one of his favourite bands, Vulfpeck, and it really came across how much he enjoyed singing this song, ‘Baby I Don’t Know Oh Oh’.
We then moved on to Les Miserables, Jamie’s next show after Spring Awakening, with a glorious cover of ‘On My Own’ that led straight into David Bowie’s ‘Life On Mars?’, a nod to his time in Lazarus. I was in a right flap as soon as the opening notes of ‘Life On Mars?’ began.
Getting to hear ‘How About Tomorrow?’ from Stay Awake Jake again was brilliant (Stay Awake Jake is still probably my favourite thing he’s done so far), and was just made even better by the almost transition into West Side Story’s ‘Maria’. Oh, if only it had gone as planned! ‘Maria’ had been on my dream Jamie concert set list for at least five years, so I was very happy and in another flap!
Jamie closed out Act One with a trio of his biggest roles: Big Fish’s ‘Daffodils’, Dogfight’s ‘Come Back’ and Heathers’ ‘Freeze Your Brain’. Pure bliss.
Following a brief interval, and an announcement indicating that some sweet treats may be passed out during the performance, Jamie opened Act Two with Jeff Buckley’s ‘Lover You Should’ve Come Over’. I first saw him perform this in 2015 at West End Big Busk, and I really wanted him to play it again, as he didn’t quite nail the guitar first time round but this time he absolutely did.
Jamie was then joined on stage by Rich Southgate and the pair did a cover of Dizzee Rascal’s ‘Dance Wiv Me’. They had performed this back in 2009 at Lyric Lounge, a cabaret type event at the Lyric Hammersmith that was hosted by and starred cast members of Spring Awakening. It was great to hear it again and it was actually a really funny coincidence: there’s a new Saturday night music game show on BBC1 and the week before this concert ‘Dance Wiv Me’ was featured and I commented that it wasn’t as good as the Jamie Muscato and Richard Southgate version. Little did I know I would be hearing that version again in just 8 days!
Simon Lipkin then joined the festivities for ‘Hatson’, a number that the trio had written together a few years before and posted on YouTube.
A cake was then brought on stage by Carrie Hope Fletcher and Jamie led us in singing Happy Birthday to his mum, as cupcakes were passed out to some of the audience. Carrie remained on stage, and on the 1 year anniversary of Heathers opening at The Other Palace, the pair performed ‘Seventeen’ and gave us all a good giggle in the instrumental section!
Jamie was then back solo, with his guitar, for ‘Blackbird’. Jamie once played this live in 2012, at David Bedella’s After Show. I was on holiday at the time and so had to settle for watching videos of it, though Jamie did promise he would play it for me (he doesn’t remember this – he had been drinking when he said it). It was so lovely to finally hear it live after 7 years!
Jamie was then joined on-stage by his Dogfight co-star, Laura Jane Matthewson, who had dashed over following her matinee perfomance of Orpheus Descending at the Menier Chocolate Factory. They sang ‘First Date/Last Night’ and gave me all the feels, as Dogfight has just a special place in my heart as it does in Jamie’s for being his first leading role.
After this, the stage was inundated with musicians (also known as Jamie’s friends) for a performance of ‘The Four Chord Song’. This is such a fun number, that some of them had performed previously as part of their After Show event at the Hippodrome Casino in 2013, and it was brilliant to see it resurrected.
The final song of the night was to be Dear Evan Hansen’s ‘Waving Through A Window’. I had done such a good job of holding in the tears all night but the opening bars just broke me. It was gorgeous and everything I could have wanted. Then Jamie was peer-pressured into doing ‘Meant To Be Yours’ (which was always the best number in Heathers due to his performance!). Massive shout out here to Jo Cichonska, who was on piano for the evening, as she had never played it before and did a fantastic job of sight-reading it.
As someone who has been there for the last ten years of Jamie’s career, the evening was a really lovely trip down memory lane, and I’m so glad he finally gave in and agreed to do a concert (if only thanks to his mum’s birthday). I know he was nervous but he really did a wonderful job.
And thus ends my rambling! See you back here next time Jamie does something super exciting, I guess. Like the next one, he said there’d be a “next one”, I have evidence.