I’ve been to a lot of gigs over the years ranging from the amazing (Michael Jackson springs to mind) to the not so fab (I lived in East London and saw a lot of live acts who probably should have been queuing up for a job in Tesco but were trying their luck) and last night I tripped off to Norwich’s Earlham Park for the finale concert of their season by teen and tween faves Little Mix.
If I’m honest it wouldn’t be a band I’d personally choose to go and see on my own but last night was one for Florence and something for us to do together before the new baby arrives. This was also something she’s been looking forward to for many months and the anticipation was super high! When I booked the tickets I barely knew I was having a third baby and the thought of being only a few weeks away from due date seemed extremely distant. Alas, time passed quicker than anticipated – a mega fun summer holiday ensured the last little bit of the summer sped through faster than the speed of light and last night we found ourselves, me with a mahoosive third trimester bump and Florence with enough glitter on her face to sink a ship, making our way to her first ever proper concert (aside from festivals) to see a band (group really I guess – I saw no instruments as they strutted about) that she truly loves.
I was excited for her and after what seemed like an immense and endless walk (when you’re 8 months pregnant, the portaloo is miles away and the manager of the Sportspark won’t let you use their toilet, it feels like an age believe me) we made our way quickly and efficiently to a really great spot just as the first support act, the Germain Sisters, were doing their thang. The Ozzy band (who DID have instruments) were fine, no one was really paying much attention to them as they were quite bland but the sound was totally inoffensive and their chirpy manner on stage was certainly them giving as good a show as they could and we found ourselves slightly bopping away to them while we simultaneously watched the queue coming in on the other side of our cheap seat barrier as the many, many, many, Golden Circle ticket holders filed in slower than snails, not looking happy about it at all. We’d seen this mammoth (and much more expensive) queue for the premium tickets as we marched straight past them and noticed that the reason behind their slow entry was down to a total lack of staff giving them their wrist bands. The thoughts that had crossed my mind in the days leading up to the concert of perhaps paying the extra to upgrade us swiftly left me as I congratulated myself on avoiding this and swanned past with my general admission ticket to a prime spot in the middle and near the front of the area we were allowed to be in.
I could (just about) see and Florence had a great view of the whole stage when on my shoulders. Thoughts crossed my mind about the Golden Circle tickets with that terrible queue; had it been worth it to any of them? I’d got to such a prime position and so quickly without paying the extra and they still hadn’t even made it inside yet! Their area was sparse, their queue ever growing and the faces who WERE filing inside their designated ‘special area’ were not ones of contented smugness at their pricey purchase! As the second support act came on, Nina Nesbit (something the golden circlers were missing), I wondered if this gal had ever heard of the Spice Girls while she banged on about Girl Power?! She was talented sure but anyone (who was born post 90s like herself I assume) would assume she’d invented the phrase. For all her talents she seems like a little girl lost on stage and was not my favourite part of the evening although she did make me realise that with a 7 year old on your shoulders and an 8 month pregnant bump I most certainly DID know the meaning, relevance and originality of good old Girl Power!
Nina in her strange ensemble of leotard and jogging bottoms (maybe I’m old but I did think why not make an effort love?!) finished well in time for the main act to appear on time at 7.30 but with those posho golden ticketers STILL not inside their area we had to wait. And wait. And wait!
And wait some more…
FINALLY, 45 minutes later than scheduled and with no word of an apology for either their tardiness or the dysfunctional organisation of the baying Golden ticketers, Little Mix kicked off in a dramatic fashion to much screaming from the same tween girls who had spent 45 minutes sighing with every song played through the sound system during the wait. Big noise, many dramatics, bangs and jutting hips and the girls, Jese, Leigh Anne, Perrie and the other one (what’s her name?!) were off! I had a screaming with excitement Florence on my shoulders and she loved every second. They kicked off with ‘Power’ as Florence squealed that it was her favourite and moved into ‘Black Magic’ (one even I knew) before singing a variety of new and old songs, dancing their little hearts out, taking it in turns to talk on the mic (It wasn’t the Perrie and Jese show I had envisaged – even ‘the other one’ did some crowd interaction) and faces all around me were in raptures.
I’d had Florence on my shoulders for the majority of the gig thus far and when I put her down for a little rest during a couple of songs she wasn’t familiar with (assuming some newer ones) we decided that we’d make our way towards the back as it was on a hill and she might get a better view from there. She did and as her gorgeous smiling face looked up at me to say she could see everything but would I still put her on my shoulders for her favourite, my heart absolutely melted for how lovely she is and how much she was enjoying it. She was most looking forward to ‘Love Me Like You’, one of the girls biggest and most famous songs and of course I agreed she could go on my shoulders for that one but first I’d have a breather while she danced on the ground.
And then, 5 minutes shy of them being on stage for an hour and after a strange few moments of them trying a weird A capella thing with the crowd in a bid, I can only deduce, to show off their singing talents which were present but this was not necessary, they announced it was their last number.
I paid £100 (for the cheap seats) for this and they were only going to play for an hour?!
What about ‘Love Me Like You’? Florence’s disbelieving eyes asked me. ‘Don’t worry baby girl, they will do an encore’. They will HAVE to surely I thought?!
They played ‘shout Out To My Ex’ – of course with the tour named after that one it was inevitable to pop up on the set list and then. Bang on the dot of 9.15 they were out.
That was IT!
IT. Finitio! The end…
Now forgive me if I am a moaning Minnie here but for a hundred quid I expect more than one hour’s worth of entertainment. For the audience they appeal to (mainly kids it has to be said) I also expected them to go on stage ON time. If they knew they couldn’t run past a minute after 9.15 then Little Mix should have made damn sure they were on stage when they said they would be but they weren’t. I have come to the conclusion that the council MUST have designated that the show went on no later than that because otherwise surely they would have continued? A friend of mine, Modern Mummy, went to see them and they were substantially later than 45 minutes for her but they still played a full set so this must have been the clear reason for them shutting up shop but why oh why then didn’t they manage to start when they should have at 7.30?!
I remember now, the Golden Circle people weren’t actually all in place in time for 7.30. IF the girls had gone on when they were supposed to have done, despite the stage being available and ready, then lots of their premium ticket holders would have missed some of the show after already missing both support acts. They couldn’t have that I assume so they must have HAD to wait for them to get into the area on time.
This meant we all, as one massive crown of fans, lost out.
The expensive ticket patrons missed half the show with the support acts having gone on and finished before they were allowed in and the entire audience got a 1 hour show taking us short by 45 minutes, had to wait, wait, wait for the pleasure and then this of course meant we didn’t get to hear some of their biggest hits because they didn’t sing them! ‘Love Me Like You’ was terribly missed and Florence counted 3 more songs she would have thought they were going to play but didn’t and again there was mention or apology.
Now I don’t want to be mean about Little Mix because they worked hard, were great little performers (bit raunchy when their predominant audience is under the age of ten but you know…) and we loved what we saw BUT… Michael Jackson played every single one of his hits when I saw him (both times) and played for nearly 3 hours. THAT was not a disappointing gig experience however MJ was certainly famous enough to have done a diva and said ‘No, I shall only play my latest album and I shall finish ON time’ but of course he never did. Prince was the same… Elton John… Oh all manner of massive artists that I and/or my husband have seen. Even Johnny Borrell of Razorlight with his well known arsey temper has never, in all the many times I’ve seen him, left out ‘Golden Touch’ or ‘Somewhere Else’ from a set yet Little Mix had different priorities that I don’t think they should be entitled to take. They are, after all is said and done, just Little Mix. Great for little girls and teens but at the end of the day they are a group put together by a money making machine and they don’t even play an instrument. No I’m not forgetting that they CAN sing and shake their bottoms rather well but let’s call a spade a spade here folks!
It’s not all the ‘band’s’ fault though… In fact, they probably have very little to do with it at all…
Little Mix are looked after by Sony Music who should have had better numbers of people giving the Golden Circlers their wrist bands and basically, as far as I can tell, the entire show hung on their lack of staff in this area. I can only assume this is why the girls came on late, to ensure everyone was in, and saw the start. Sony Music will have made a phenomenal amount of moola from last night’s gig yet there were a few areas I think they just didn’t do well, not just the appalling lack of staff for getting everyone inside.
When you have an artist who’s fans are mainly little girls I think to ban water from being brought in yet make the queues for the food and drinks outlets SO long (and expensive) it’s abysmal. To have about 8 portaloos dotted about randomly was NOT good enough either. Couple all this with the fact the venue was allowed to hoik their car parking charges through the roof is plain mean. But the main thing… Oh the most important point is that they allowed the entry to the Golden Circle to be such a shambles that EVERYONE missed out on pretty much half a concert.
We had a great time but we felt we were lacking and came away as disappointed in one direction as we were jubilant in the other. It gave Little Mix a bad name, made them look like divas (I’m sure they may well be but they would have played a full set if they could have because they have for other gigs and this was their last of the summer) and generally put a dampner on a very expensive experience.
Such a shame don’t you think? Norwich you need to up your game in the organisation stakes – it was NOT looked after well and Sony, or whoever was in charge of employing enough staff, you did us all a disservice last night and frankly that’s just not fair!
I’m glad we did it but I’d think twice about going to see them again – especially in Earlham Park…