A Night A’For Hogmanay: Altered Images And Sophie Ellis Bexter,

Princes St Gardens, Edinburgh

It was looking a bit Sketchy before the rain finished draining from the clouds, Niddrie Burn a raging torrent. It had been a surreal day, everything felt out of sync. I did a lot of healing for people that really need it, early doors. My legs were aching from yesterdays exercise, so after crimping my hair and wrapping up warm. I jumped on the 21 bus to call for Raymond so that we could head for our date with Claire Grogan’s Altered Images and Sophie Ellis Bexter. Equipped with Media Passes we cruised into Princes Street Gardens and The Ross bandstand. Built around it is one of the biggest stages I have seen for a long time; the lighting was out of this world and sound system just perfect. Everyone was really up for it and dancing.

I first saw Altered Images at Party In The Palace, August just gone they are a band that I have loved since I was a teen New Romantic Claire Grogan was every teens rock N Roll Crush, especially after her highly acclaimed acting role in the film Gregory’s Girl. The lead singer of Altered Images has a voice that has soundtracked a good 40 years of my life and every tune is buoyantly positive and beautifully delivered. The 80’s hits and disco covers are performed with finesse by a beautiful and well-rehearsed band, The contemporary numbers are equally as funky and dance-inducing. Everyone was loving it and everyone was really happy. The band had a really Good Time too. As the half-moon hung in the Winter night sky, we danced under the crimson-lit Castle. Ms Grogan is still as beautiful as she was 40 years ago. the crush is still intact, I know I know Claire is married to the man that inspired the love song. “Don’t Talk To Me About Love” Giving us the back story of that one melted a few hearts and everyone danced a little bit harder ❤. Closing with a rendition of Happy Birthday that lifted everyone’s spirits one notch higher and there was lots of room to dance. ❤ And dance we did in the best concert venue in the world.

There couldn’t have been a better warm up for to nights headlining act, Sophie Elis Bexter. Another artist that I got the opportunity to take in for the first time while at Party In the Palace. Damo, The Mumble Editor, was raving about her long before I knew who she was, Sophie is a 43-year-old mother of four children, with her husband, the very handsome Richard Jones, on Bass Guitar. Tonight was a boost for everyone who thought they were too old and past it The enormo stage really suited her and her brilliant band. We took in the performance from the back of the venue, because I wanted to take in the full spectacle of just how perfect everything was.

It was a dry but damp night, and everyone was dancing. the dance routines were expertly replicated from her legion of fans all around me. It was brilliant, Sophie took her coat off after the first song to reveal the most amazing dress, looking every bit the star that Sophie Ellis Bexter has become. Sure, its cheese, but really really good cheese, performed with gusto and passion. A British Madonna for all intents and purposes – her rendition of Like a Prayer confirming her inspiration, channelling her inner Madonna perfectly. I think this is the reason I love her so; her bass playing husband is a dish too, I can see how their marriage works, the creative chemistry between them both is electrical and on fire, encouraging her ecstatic audience to dance harder. To raise the energy, to keep warm. We obeyed. What a brilliant and absolutely fantastic experience. Rock N Roll baby ❤

Anyone lucky to have tickets for Hogmanay Headliners The Petshop Boys ❤ in Princes Street Gardens. You are in for a real treat, The stage is awesome, the Soundsystem is perfect. In the best concert venue in the world. Am getting excited now, I know it is going to be awesome ❤ Good Time Divine ❤

Words: Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert
Photography: Raymond Speedie

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