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Peter Kay – London O2 Arena – Sunday 7th November 2010 (Live Review)

Thursday, 11 November 2010 Written by Rob Sleigh


It’s been seven years since “Britain’s favourite comedian” Peter Kay completed his record-breaking Mum Wants a Bungalow tour and the follow-up has been a long time coming for many of the 20,000 people present at tonight’s show in the O2 Arena. Although Kay is known for being one of the best stand-up acts in the country for his popular observational comedy routines, it’s probably fair to say that his dedication to the cause has become somewhat questionable since the release of his last DVD. However, tonight’s audience doesn’t seem too concerned. In fact, it may as well have been yesterday that the momentous catchphrase “Garlic bread!” was first heard.

Before the headliner makes his appearance, tonight’s special guest is due out, as is customary for any good evening’s entertainment. The lights go out and a voice booms from the PA: “Please welcome to the stage, award-winning artist… Rick Astley!” Once the assumptions that this is a joke pass and Peter Kay does not walk out dressed as Rick Astley, it becomes clear that tonight’s support act is in fact… Rick Astley. Who would have thought that a washed-up ‘80s pop has-been would make a good warm-up act for a hugely popular comedian? Good question. As expected, Astley rolls out the hits and murders a medley of perfectly good songs by London-based artists including the Clash, the Rolling Stones, Lily Allen and Madness. To be fair to Rick Astley, he’s still got it. Whatever it was he ever had, he’s still got it.

ImageOnce the odd choice for a support act has gone, it’s finally time for Peter Kay. As the star takes to the stage in a cloud of smoke, lights and “p*ss poor” fireworks, the cheer that echoes around the enormous venue makes it easy to forget that this is a comedy show and not a rock concert.

One of the great things about Peter Kay that has always separated him from other observational comics – a form of stand-up that is becoming increasingly tired and outdated – is the way that he acts out his observations and so convincingly relates them to his own family life. This is seen again in one of his opening routines in which he, very seasonably, recalls his dad’s attempts at firework displays in their back garden. He also manages to raise more than a few smiles with his bit about listening to Queen as a child, dressed in his mum’s white leotard and playing his dad’s shovel – the bygone equivalent of Guitar Hero, as he describes it. Without spoiling the encore, this story makes a popular recurrence in tonight’s very musical finale.

Although the majority of the show’s content is brand-new material, Kay makes the occasional reference to some old favourites such as his Uncle Knobhead. Even the classic “Garlic bread” gets a mention, as the comedian describes how he regularly receives complementary starters in restaurants, thanks to his renowned catchphrase.

As any stand-up comic will tell you, no observational comedy routine would be complete without a few electronic household item gags thrown in for good measure. To this end, Kay jokes about the many failings of Sky+, “th’iPods” and Wi-Fi – or “wiffy” as his nan would call it.

Some of the biggest laughs of the evening are reserved from one of his final pieces, during which he runs through a number of well-known songs and explains how he had previously mistaken some of their lyrics. The rest of the performance proved to be an equal success and, although a few parts were not quite up to standard, he has easily helped people to remember what all the fuss was about seven years ago. The Tour That Doesn’t Tour tour was well worth the wait, but hopefully next time, it won’t be quite as long.

Stereoboard Rating: 8/10

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