Review of The Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon at Greenwich Summer Sessions ****
3:05pm Thursday 28th July 2011
By Mark George
来源:http://www.newsshopper.co.uk/freetime/latest/9166259.Review_of_The_Divine_Comedy_s_Neil_Hannon_at_Greenwich_Summer_Sessions_____/

GREENWICH’S Summer Sessions got under way with The Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon performing a solo show.

Arriving on stage dressed like a commuter on his way to work, Hannon clutched his songbook in one hand as if it was his briefcase.

But not many other men in grey suits could entertain the crowd at the Old Royal Naval College with an hour and 50 minutes of witty banter and 24 songs about love, cricket and a certain coach company.


Neil Hannon delighted his fans at Greenwich Summer Sessions, playing all the tracks from his latest album

Hannon began with an announcement hoping the crowd enjoyed his most recent album, Bang Goes The Knighthood, as he would be playing it in its entirety before launching into a fantastic performance of opening track Down In The Street Below.

Before the following track, Hannon said he noticed in soundtrack from the stage he had a clear view of Canary Wharf, dedicating his sharp dig at City financial workers – The Complete Banker – to the people who work there.

Despite pretty much all of the album versions of his songs featuring a backing band, and even strings or a brass section, Hannon was not put off performing complex tracks armed with just a piano or an acoustic guitar, as his stripped back version of Neapolitan Girl showed.

However, a couple of experiments with a metronome to help the audience clap in time ended up putting Hannon off his stride.

Between songs, or even during them, Hannon displayed his witty banter, enjoying a glass of Pimm’s and commenting on cricket and his lack of stellar guitar showmanship, and his humourous fake jazz interludes on the piano provided a few laughs.

Talking of jokes, the performance of Can You Stand Upon On One Leg? included some audience participation as one member of the audience volunteered to tell the joke required during the middle eight, only for the rambling effort about a Jewish American President attempting to invite his mother to the White House for Passover gaining more giggles for its length than the punchline.


Neil Hannon delivered an evening of wit, self-deprecation and excellent songs

Ending Bang Goes The Knighthood with the fantastic I Like, a tired Hannon confessed he was thinking of taking an interval before playing “the hits” but admitted it was too late for that.

Instead, he picked up his guitar and launched into Becoming More Like Alfie.

As there were audience requests for Jiggery Pokery from his cricket side project The Duckworth Lewis Method, Hannon sat down at the piano.

After finding out what key his song was in, he performed the Noel Coward-esque account of Shane Warne bowling Mike Gatting, mumbling his way through a verse but eventually recovering the rest of the lyrics from the recesses of his memory.

There were several moments of Hannon drawing a blank with his lyrics or accidentally ending up in the wrong key, and while this runs the risk of causing the crowd to groan, his quick self-deprecating wit means you can easily forgive him for his mistakes.

The set featured one cover – Being Boring by the Pet Shop Boys – before Hannon launched into Generation Sex and conducted an audience vote to play either Geronimo or Everybody Knows (Except You) before caving in to popular demand and playing both.

Hannon refused to play My Lovely Horse, which he penned for the Eurovision episode of Father Ted, compromising with Songs Of Love which was used as the sitcom’s title music.

Returning for an encore of an excellent performance of Our Mutual Friend and the upbeat Tonight We Fly, it seemed as though the crowd had reached the end of the gig, only for Hannon to cause the crowd to rush back to the stage by returning on stage for a second encore – a piano version of his biggest hit, National Express – which sent the crowd home even happier.

An evening of wit, self-deprecation and excellent songs had come to an end – exactly what you expect from a Neil Hannon gig, and exactly what he delivered.

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