When she announced her tour to everyone back in January, I just knew I had to be there for her opening night! I have been a fan of Conchita’s ever since I was introduced to her by Eurovision Ireland in the run up to Eurovision 2014. By the time she won the title that year I was a confirmed member of ‘The Unstoppables’ and like so many of her fans will do whatever I can to support her career. She wants a Grammy and I want that for her too.
So I found myself at London Gatwick yesterday morning, jumping on a plane and heading to Vienna because there was nowhere else on planet earth that I wanted to be. You should know that there is not another person in the world I would fly 800 miles to see in concert and then turn around and fly 800 miles back the next day!
In the run up to this tour Conchita has been teasing us, she’s put out some rehearsal videos and some videos from her private show last week for family and friends.
It’s probably accurate to say that I really didn’t know what to expect from this show. Conchita’s look is much more androgynua these days, the beard is longer and fuller (I have to confess I’m really struggling to ‘get on’ with the beard style at the moment!), the styling is much grungier and dark, it’s fair to say this is not the same Conchita who won Eurovision almost two years ago, I can’t even remember the last time I saw her in a dress!
The sound too has seemed much more rockier, a bit heavier, and yet we had just seen her at the Sydney Opera House in colour and sparkles and backed by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. The venue ‘Porgy & Bess’ in Vienna is a jazz club and her performance on Wer Singt für Österreich in February hinted more at a journey down the jazz road. So with so many styles and performances of late I wasn’t quite sure which Conchita we were going to get last night.
And we got rock-chick Conchita! She walked onto the stage wearing a fabulous wrap coat by D&H studio, a contemporary Finnish designer who I’d never hear of before, this was teamed with leather trousers and the most awesome pair of leather boots, which caused me to have major boot-envy all night! It was great to see her in something a bit more ‘styled’ rather than the very loose fitting jumpsuits and trousers she’s been wearing recently.
The show opened with a cover of ‘(Where Do I Begin) Love Story‘ and continued in Shirley Bassey more with a cover of ‘Goldfinger‘ a song that a very young Tom Neuwirth sang on Starmania all those years ago, but now sings a thousand times better! The first of Conchita’s own songs was ‘Were Have All the Good Men Gone?’, then followed a whole raft of songs, some from her album and some covers, exactly as promised.
The other element of the show we’d been promised was anacdotes and stories, which we got, however these were entirely in German, not a word of English spoken, which comes to my one negative aspect of the show. Now, I am not one of those people who goes abroad and expects that everyone should speak English, however Conchita had said on social media a few weeks ago that she would speak German and English in the show so I was looking forward to that, but when it came to it I was left disappointed as although my German is ok, I got a little bit of the gist of what she was saying, I couldn’t laugh along with the jokes because by the time I’d finished trying to understand them, the moment had gone. The reason I pick up on this was that a lot of the audience had flown in from all over Europe and were in the same boat as me, we all left feeling as though we’d missed part of the show. So if there’s one thing I would say to her it’s please honour those fans who’ve flown hundreds and thousands of miles to see you, it’s not that the whole show needs to be in English, but the little bit promised before would ensure that all the Unstoppables can enjoy what’s going on.
There were some surprising elements to the night. Firstly Conchitas cover of ‘River Deep, Mountain High‘, of course we’ve seen her cover it before, but to see her heavily rocked up version live with the band was amazing. I think at some point Tina Turner just needs to sign that song over to Conchita, because she sings it better than Tina!
The most surprising aspect for me though came right at the end, as her encore she came back onto the stage, perched on the stool and the piano began and then out of the blue came ‘Other Side Of Me‘, a song which I (and many others) had wondered whether she would ever sing live. We all let out an audible and collective gasp as she sang the first words of the song as we were SO surprised to see it on the set list and hear it sung live.
I can’t imagine how I would feel knowing that that concert was taking place in Vienna and I wasn’t there! It was an amazing show, Conchita has become such a great live performer and this small venue gave her the chance to produce something very intimate, I think everyone felt they’d connected with her in a different way. It was also very sweet to see her parents Siefried and Helga there in the very front row and she referred to them a lot during the show, in fact afterwards there was a huge queue of fans who wanted to meet them and they obliged with hugs, handshakes and selfie’s, like pro-celebrities themselves!
I’ve always loved hearing Conchita sing with live music, her performance at the Wider die Gewalt concert in Vienna, which I was so privileged to be at, was unbelievable, just ‘that’ voice and piano accompaniment (with a bit of beatbox). So here she is on stage again with live musicians, this is a screen grab from the website, I’ve tried to find out more about these four handsome boys, but it seems they are mysterious Viennese musicians that the internet has not discovered yet!
If you think I was a bit mad to fly from London to Vienna for a 90 minutes concert then my trip was made completely insignificant when you see and meet so many fans who’d travelled a lot further than me to be there. The lovely Alice, who so wonderfully translated Russian to English for us at Eurovision Ireland, had made the trip from her home town in the south of Russia, a trip she says is not easy as there are no direct flights to Vienna, she was also joined by a few more of the RusUnstoppables.
there was quite a number of Brits there too, Sally had traveled from Birmingham, Elliot from Brussels and Nicole from London.
Inbal had made the journey from Tel Aviv, but putting us all to shame, the award for distance travelled goes to writer Michelle Topham who travelled all the way from the USA to be there for Conchita’s first night.
I have to say my lasting memory comes from the very end of the show, Conchita and her band stood together taking a bow, the smile on her face said it all, it lit up the whole room, she was radiant in that moment, brighter than the sun, and all I can say is she deserved every moment of it. I’ve tried not to fan-girl too much during this review but it’s hard not to when in her presence!
If you’ve got a ticket you are one of the lucky ones and you are in for one of the most amazing shows you’ve ever seen. I am so happy I made the trip to Vienna for this show and would do the same again in a heartbeat. I am even more of a fan now than I ever was, which to be honest happens every time I see her live.
Author: Lisa-Jayne Lewis
Source: Eurovision Ireland