"Before The Rain" tour
Review of "Before The Rain" tour, Glasgow SECC
By: Ian Duncan
Date: 1st April, 1997
Date: 31st March 1997
Location: SECC Glasgow
Event: The first show on Eternal's "Before The Rain" tour
The show kicked off sharp at 7.30 with the first of two support acts taking the stage, Lorriane Cato. She proved to be a very good singer, somewhere between Dina Carroll and Mariah Carey, though very good. You had to feel sorry for her when after the first song, on the first night, the tape machine stopped, or else somebody had forgotten to switch it on! She did five or six good sounding songs, including an excellent verson of the Jacksons' "I'll Be There".
At around 8pm the second act came on, Human Nature, an Australian boy band. They opened with an acapella version of the gospel classic 'People Get Ready', which bode well, but quickly deteriorated into the standard boy band, 'thrust your loins and do a seventies cover version' style. Not the worst thing I've ever seen - at least they could sing - but they began to grate by the tiime their set was over.
So to the main event. After an unbelieveably long wait (20-25 minutes at least) and at exactly 8.50pm, 'The Most Successful All-Girl Act in UK History' took to the stage... albeit after a couple of minutes of light show and video countdown, shown on two large video screens either side of the stage.
The band struck the first few notes of Power Of a Woman, the girls descended from the roof, and we were up and running!
The full playlist was:-
Power Of A Woman
Never Gonna Give You Up
How Many Tears
Just A Step From Heaven
Oh Baby I...
I Am Blessed (Easther Solo)
Jam (Kéllé solo, a Michael Jackson track)
Big Time (Vernie solo, a Peter Gabriel track)
Save Our Love (instrumental)
Introducing the Band/Why Am I Waiting
Good Thing/Come Together (medley, the Beatles track)
Dont You Love Me
I Wanna Be The Only One
The show got off to a good start, as I found I was seated about six yards from Mr 1st Avenue, Denis Ingoldsby! He had decided to take up residency in the sound mixing booth, for the duration of the first night..
The band sounded good, but much as it pains me to say the real let down was the Glasgow crowd, who were embarassingly dull, quiet and seemingly uninterested. It had to be said though, the girls probably didn't help as they sang their way through a ropey version of 'Power Of A Woman' (I guess that's to be expected, it being their first song of the tour), followed by an absolutely awful version of 'So Good'. Remixed to the point of being almost unrecognisable, it was closely followed by the song they always seem to play live for no apparent reason, 'Never Gonna Give You Up'.
But from this point on, it was all up! 'How Many Tears' was stunning, and sounds more and more like a potential single, even though I seemed to be the only person in the arena who was standing up, singing all the words, and going absolutely mental! 'I am Blessed' was great as usual, though in a strangely abridged format..
Kéllé`s solo was introduced by a tap dancing session atop some large boxes, before dancing inside them a la Madonna. but what an awful choice of track!
Vernie fared even worse, for although her performance was much more confident and assured than previously, the song just wasn't up to it. Instead of doing a big production dance number, dressed as a big-time Mafia type bloke, she should have stuck to Brian McKnight, or the song she wrote for the album, 'What Do You Mean When You Say'.
During 'Crazy' the girls were kidnapped by their four dancers and locked up in a big rotating cage (presumably because they were 'Crazy'), and later broke out to sing their own bits. This year Kéllé did Louise's parts from the original song.
The encore was as always the big highlight. The lights dimmed, the starry backdrop came on, and the girls appeard in white gospel style clobber, riding in a boat (presumably along the Seine) from back to front of the stage. The gave an impeccable performance of perhaps their greatest single to date, Someday', and more importantly for the first time of the evening the crowd came to life.
By the time they came round to performing 'I Wanna Be The Only One' (tragically no Bebe on tour, one of the backing singers did the business), the crowd were in a frenzy! And we all got to end the evening by joining in the latest in a long line of silly ('I'm A Little Teapot'-style dance routines, and the traditional 'split the hall in three to see who is the best' routine. Unsurprisingly, I was In Vernies section - I'm sure we won!
Length of show: exactly 90 minutes
After a slow start it all went excellently, and I cannot stress how much I am jealous of all those people who have still to go! I love this band!
But there were still a couple of strange things. The lack of new songs - only three which haven't been released yet. The inclusion again of 'Never Gonna Give You Up', the strangely shortened versions of some songs, still no vocal version of 'Save Our Love'. The weird choices of solo songs (Vernie and Kéllé) and no traditional medley.