Just a Perfect DayPickled Tink, March 19th 2011
To say that Susan Boyle was stunning at the Scottish variety Awards is the understatement of the year. The audience was spell bound by the magic of both her voice and by her presence. The hardy and handsome Scotsmen in their kilts, the beautifully dressed ladies in attendance and those working on the event were all witness to a spectacular tour de force.
Susan arrived at the champagne reception with her manager Andy Stephens, members of her family and a few close friends. She looked remarkably at ease as she mingled with the audience who were enjoying their pre-show drinks and canapés. Susan looked dazzling wearing a purple outfit from Tartan Spirit by Scottish designer Joyce Young, There were no signs of the nerves which once plagued her and she exuded confidence and professionalism as she moved among the audience.
Susan was the headline act of the night and the atmosphere was electric. The hosts were clearly delighted to be introducing an international sensation to an event in Scotland. Susan opened the proceedings, and what an opening. She began her set with A Perfect Day, which was the lead track on her second hugely successful album The Gift. Susan's performance was faultless and the crowd were mesmerised as she held them in the palm of her hand.
Susan's quick wit and her knack for handling a crowd were brought into play when the technicians mixed up the running order for her performance. She informed the audience that her second song needed no introduction and had been where it all began,. Instead of I Dreamed A Dream the opening bars of Who I Born To Be rang out, much to her surprise. Susan began the song and mixed up the words for the end of the first verse, handling the situation beautifully she sang on tongue in cheek style that she had forgotten the words and needed a rerun. When the techs did not respond the hands went on hips as she called out to Jonathan, who must be feeling a bit red faced by now poor man that she needed a rerun. She laughingly advised the audience that this "happened to the best of them." Having witnessed the same thing happen to a variety of performers including Cher, Streisand, and Elaine Paige (more than once) I heartily concur. The hapless Jonathan re wound the backing track and the audience were treated to a faultless rendition of Who I Was Born to Be.
The Final song of the set was of course I Dreamed A Dream and Susan was correct, this song needed no introduction. She owns this song! Those of us who were privileged to witness this performance were of the view that this actually exceeded that which she gave at the original audition on Britain's Got Talent. We never thought that we would be saying that. This performance was powerful, full of emotion, that unique and wonderful voice ringing out loud and clear. Tears were flowing and the hairs stood up on the back of the arms and neck. This was truly a spine tingling performance. Susan had returned home, to perform in her home country triumphant, exuding confidence and demonstrating to all that she is truly a world class performer. The crowd went wild and Susan received the third standing ovation of the evening with prolonged and appreciative applause and many cheers.
After her performance Susan went amongst the audience again, visiting with those who were seated waiting to eat, had her photo taken, signed autographs and worked the crowd with ease, confidence, grace, humour, and professionalism.
Many awards were given out during the evening's proceedings and one very special award was given to Susan Boyle. Elaine C Smith, who is the actor whom Susan would like to play her in the musical and the film of her life, presented Susan with an award for Outstanding Achievement. Elaine's introduction was heartfelt and paid tribute not only to her remarkable voice but, also to the effect which Susan has had on so many, describing Susan as a role model for the world. These two women clearly have great affection and respect for each other. Susan responded to the accolade with her by now customary "bloody fantastic" thanking the crowd for their support. The rest of the evening passed in a bit of a blur for many and one almost felt sorry for the acts to follow. How do you follow Susan Boyle? The answer is that you can't. She is a unique and phenomenal talent who touches people both with her rare and remarkable voice and indeed with her presence. This was without doubt a perfect day for those who had come from as far afield as Australia and Texas to hear her sing, and was of course "well worth it."
Fiona Kennedy, fan of Susan, bought the signed guitar for £3,000 at Scottish Variety Awards, which gave a nice boost to the "Cash for Kids Charity" supported by the organizers, The Sun and Radio Clyde.
Her programme Highland Heartbeat is on PBS in the U.S. She encourages young Scottish singers, and produces Highland Heartbeat, a modern take on traditional Scottish music.
Fiona's parents were Anne Lorne Gillies and Calum Kennedy, and uncle is Alistair Gillies, for anyone who remembers the Scottish traditional singers of the past.
Susan and Fiona Kennedy
And That's One More Side of MeStevieboy49 March 18th 2011
My wife and I arrived at a location in Dechmont, West Lothian, to be greeted warmly by fellow fans who had assembled earlier and were busy preparing a meal. After exchanging greetings with all, we began excitedly discussing the forthcoming appearance of Susan on Comic Relief and also the SVA award ceremony which is to happen the following evening in Glasgow. Anticipation ran very high amongst us all. We had been eagerly awaiting the broadcast after all the hype and press attention of recent days.
We sat down to a sumptuous dinner prepared by some very gifted cooks amongst the group, consisting of salmon, baked potatoes, pasta and goat's cheese/caramelized onion, washed down by wine and beer.
As the time approached beyond nine o'clock, we all assembled in the huge living room to watch the show. After watching various acts, including Take That with their latest single offering, and also being reminded of just exactly what the whole exercise is about - the poor and the needy and the starving, particularly those in Africa, we settled down to watch the duet between Susan Boyle and Peter Kay.
To say that it was a comedy masterpiece would, in this writer's estimation, be a gross underestimation of what we were witnessing. It was simply genius! Beautiful singing from Susan and a surprisingly good singing performance from Peter Kay was augmented by a number of really funny asides to camera and the sight of Susan's hair being gradually transformed from her usual neat hairstyle to what in the end resembled an Afro that was seriously out of control. Hilarious!
On occasions, it was difficult to hear for the raucous laughter from all assembled in the room. The ending was arguably one of the funniest pieces of humour I have seen for a very long time.
Susan once again demonstrated that she is not only a beautiful singer but possesses a very acute sense of comic timing and she easily held her own in the company of Peter Kay, one of Britain's finest comedians. Susan once famously said to a skeptical audience, “And that's just one side of me.” Tonight we saw another side to the gifted and talented artist who is Susan Boyle.
Judging by the reaction which has been unanimously favourable not only among those present tonight, but by the press, media, and those on Social Networks, the duet, which will be available as a CD and DVD and as a download on iTunes, is destined to enjoy a great amount of success. Such is the demand that this is now being made available to a worldwide audience as news of this performance has spread far and wide. This is a first in the history of comic relief and demonstrates once again the remarkable pulling power of Susan Boyle.
Most importantly of all, and this is what will be most important to Susan, it will help raise huge amounts of money for Comic Relief.
As they say in West Lothian “Guid on yer hen!”
Subo Sunday in Livingston
English Admirer March 23, 2011
The 27 fans who attended the Scottish Variety Awards in Glasgow on Saturday evening were joined by 4 more for lunch at the Livingston Inn on Sunday. We travelled from our various hotels, B and Bs and local homes in cars and a minibus. After greetings and catching up with each other we sat down to eat. Most of us had soup, Scottish steak pie and delicious iced cranachan parfait .
&Livingston is a few miles from Edinburgh and this 1760 Inn's claim to fame is that Robbie Burns wrote The Bonnie Lass of Livingston here. Well, we were waiting for the Bonnie Lass of Blackburn!
We had decorated the walls with Susan/music pictures and put out Scottish flags on the tables. An American fan had designed buttons (badges) for the event and other buttons were laid out too so everyone had some souvenirs to take back home to America, England, Ireland, Switzerland, France, The Netherlands, Australia and-last but not least, Scotland! A Dutch fan brought us biscuits and sweets. Yummy! What a wonderful international "family" we are becoming.
At 2pm Susan and her niece Joanne came into the Inn to meet us. Suddenly we weren't hungry anymore and we stopped eating! Susan commented that we were a bigger group this time and said she recognised some faces. She sat down at the head of the table to chat with us. What a trouper she is. She must have been exhausted after giving such a fantastic, exhilarating performance the night before and not getting back home till very late- but she came. She was wearing the gold print jacket that had been specially made for her Comic Relief sketch with Peter Kay singing I Know Him So Well. She told us that as she liked it so much she was given it to keep. We asked about that amazing Afro hair that seemed to grow bigger and wilder as the song went on and she said that she had worn a three part wig. She was relaxed and laughed a lot-as she always does.
After a while people went up to meet her individually and she patiently signed all kinds of things - photos, pictures, CDs, her book, SVA programmes and -t shirts!! These were still being worn and a lot of fun was had as she wrote on the backs of four fans. Susan was given some presents which Joanne took to keep for later - probably for her birthday - but she did open one which was a liquorice allsorts necklace. "I'm wearing that!" she said and put it on straightaway.
After about 45 minutes Susan and Joanne moved to the other end of the room for a presentation. One of our Texan fans has made quilts for Susan before but this one was SPECIAL! It's a present for her 50th birthday on April 1st and the idea was to find 500 people connected with Susan who would agree to have their name embroidered on a square. That's a lot of names. A lot of squares. And a lot of quilt! People from this site had got permission from celebrities, Susan's family, Sony music, her team, friends and other fans. The result? A rainbow of names from Donny Osmond to the Scottish Catholic cardinal. They come from 40 countries around the world. Round the edge of the quilt I love you is embroidered in each of the 27 languages spoken in these countries. Another fan has made beautiful squares that show some of the special events and places in Susan's life these last two years and there's a Bible verse on the back. Susan didn't hold back her amazement when the quilt was opened out! She enjoyed finding familiar names with Joanne. By now it was getting hot in the room so we were glad to use the cut out fans of Susan's face that a fan had brought us!
Then it was outside for a group photo in the garden before Susan and Joanne left as we sang "If you knew Susie like I know Susie, Oh! Oh! Oh what a gal!" - which was a fitting goodbye to her. What a gal indeed. What a star who has stayed true to herself, is down to earth and willing to come out and have some fun with a group of fans. She's one of a kind.....Thank you