I have to admit that I sat through one of her concerts back in the mid 80's at Wembley, but in my defence the tickets were free and I was with my then wife-to-be. It was just like listening to a recording. And it seemed to go on forever (bit like my marriage). Mind you the ex did come along to a Deep Purple gig with me a couple of years later.
LONDON — US pop diva Whitney Houston garnered mixed reviews on Wednesday after playing her first gig in Britain in 11 years.
The 46-year-old singer kicked of the British leg of her world tour in front of a sell-out crowd in Birmingham on Tuesday evening after earlier postponing her first three UK dates because of a respiratory infection.
News of her hospitalisation last week had forced the singer -- who has battled against substance abuse -- to dismiss as "ridiculous" suggestions she had relapsed into drug use. But the pop star -- who has sold more than 170 million albums worldwide -- seemed to have shaken off her recent bout of illness as she took to stage at Birmingham's LG Arena.
"I'm feeling pretty good myself, thank you so much for asking," Houston told the crowd before opening with two songs from her new album "I Look To You".
She then went on to belt out some of her biggest hits from the eighties and the nineties, her vocal performance winning praise from the Guardian's Caroline Sullivan.
"She looked pretty good, she sounded pretty good. No, she sounded better than that -- contrary to reports from Australia, the pipes were in full working order." A reference to the scathing reviews of Houston's Australia gigs in February when disappointed fans complained that the ageing diva failed to hit her famous high notes and struggled for breath.
"The stage was crowded with dancers, musicians, and backing vocalists but Houston had no need of their support. She's definitely back," said Sullivan.
The Sun, on the other hand, noted that the pop star seemed "distracted" and struggled with microphone problems.
And while her set list included favourites such as "I Will Always Love You" and "I Wanna Dance With Somebody", Houston's singing "didn't come up to scratch."
The Sun concluded: "Houston, we still have a problem."
The Independent's Elisa Bray said she could not help but admire Houston, "who in the face of the negative press, stood up tonight to give her all."
Despite moments of breathlessness and fans getting restless during a 15-minute costume change, Bray believes Houston managed to endear herself to the crowd, "especially when she signed her autograph for a fan."
To sum up, Bray said: "Tonight was definitely a spectacle -- and for the most part in a good way."
The re-scheduled Glasgow gig will now take place on May 1 and the Manchester gigs have been moved to June 16-17.
There was a bloke on R5 last night who'd been to the concert. He also admitted to going to a Celine Dion concert recently as well. I thought blimey there's a man into self harm! (Interestingly, I couldn't remember the crap Canadian singers name just now but a Google search with the words 'crap female canadian singer' brings Dion's name up immediately).
i don't think those people who reviewed it were at the same concert as me!!!
first she came out late. then she garbled on for about 10 mins about how well she was feeling. then she sang the first two songs which sounded pretty good, but on the 2nd one they gave her a new hand held microphone, and some guy stood behind her taking off her head mic, because it had broken. and then something confusing happened, she carried on singing while holding her arms out (and said hand held mic) Hmmm... so i presume for that song, they already knew the mic was broke and used a pre-recorded version... but that's just my opinion.
then it just went downhill from there. She talked A LOT! you know like when you are with a friend who is drunk and they just talk and talk and talk. it was like that.. and me and my mate were saying to each other "do you think she's off her face?". the crowd were shouting "get on with it" because they were getting bored of listening to how much she loved us.
they had big screens but they wouldn't do any close ups of her (until the end and then you understood why) and she looked exactly the same size on the screens as she did on the stage (i.e. to those at the back the screens were a complete waste of time) and then kept turning the screens off which only resulted in people shouting "put the screens on" which you could hear them shouting because she was still talking and not singing.
after 4 songs, she introduced her brother to sign a song (he was better than her) while she did a costume change. i presume the costume change was supposed to take as long as her brother's song, because after the "queen of the night" music started. you kind of expected her to come through the doors and belt it out, but instead her backing singers just carried on singing it, and her dancers continued as well. by the end of the song i was saying to my mate "she ain't coming back"... LOL
then they played about 10 mins of video of her on the big screen and the crowd were getting pretty irate. she eventually came on after about another 10 mins and starts apologising for taking so long, but at least she had got changed for us! and she carried on apologising for ages which again prompted the crowd to shout "just get on with it". Then she walked over to some sound/light engineer who was crouched down doing something on the edge of the stage and bent over and said to him (like he was a child that she didn't expect to see) "Oh hello... what are you doing here?" at which point me and my mate nearly fell off our seats laughing because it was very obvious she was off her face. God knows what they gave her back stage to "calm her down".
then she changed what she was going to sing... which probably p'd off her band, and just carried on talking and yapping.
the last 3 songs were "I will always love you", "i wanna dance with somebody", and "how will i know" and then she did the encore which was Million Dollar Bill.
She sang them ok, and managed to pull off her encore, which pretty much saved the day.
To be honest, the singing wasn't too bad... when she finally got round to it, it was just the fact that she was very obviously off her face and talked and talked and talked a load of crap when she should have been singing. I feel sad that her production company have stooped to the level where they would let someone go on stage in that state. Her docs have obviously had to dope her up on something for her to be able to do this tour. they have, in effect, just exploited her.
some people paid over £100 for their ticket and they've been phoning local radio stations for the last 24 hours saying how appalled they were. i paid £45 and it was worth it just for the comedy.
Even when she was at her most popular, the level of criticism about her overall sound was consistently high. One critic (name escapes me but well-respected), said her voice was crap and her backing sounded like a load of bamboo canes rattling willy-nilly in a strong wind!