Get It Back
Heartbreak Hotel
If I Told You That
Saving All My Love For You/Until You Come Back
I Learned From The Best
Step By Step
I Have Nothing/I'm Your Baby Tonight/Run To You/Queen Of The Night - Backing Vocalists' Medley
My Love Is Your Love
I Wanna Dance With Somebody
How Will I Know
[Gospel Duet - Whitney Houston featuring BeBe Winans]
I Love The Lord
I Go To The Rock
You'll Never Stand Alone
I Will Always Love You


It's Not Right But It's Okay

How's the song go? I've been through all this before.  Tonight was the third and final show of the first leg of Whitney's UK tour (two more UK shows have been added to the European Tour including one show at Birmingham and one at Wembley Arena).  

Three shows is a lot.  I'm exhausted - I can't even imagine how Whitney feels; she's been on stage close to 40 times times this year already.  I applaud her for giving back to her fans and for allowing curious new-comers to Whitney's music the opportunity to experience her first hand.  I don't think it's recognised enough how accessible Whitney has been over the years to the public.  I'm sure it's more to do with her personal love for the stage but at the end of the day everyone wins.

Saturday night's audience at Wembley Arena was a real mix of young children; more than any night before, and older fans, people looking for a good time and people wanting some of 'My Love Is Your Love'.  Tonight's audience was more vibrant and energetic that the previous nights.  My personal experience of Wembley Arena is that the mid week crowds aren't as eager to enjoy themselves as the Friday Night/Saturday night peoples.   At a guess, this is the same for most cities of the world.

Tonight's show was different to the previous shows in that Whitney appeared to want to get on with it a bit more.  There was less chat, no mention of "The Bodyguard" (a first?) and no "I'm Every Woman".  In fact, even Gary Houston lost his solo in favour of the reprise/medley of I Have Nothing/I'm Your Baby Tonight/Run To You/Queen Of The Night.  If I have to make do with just the opening bars of "I Have Nothing" then I will.  What we did get was "You'll Never Stand Alone" which, as far as I am aware, has never been performed live.   The song was performed by special request for a lady who had come via one of the Platinum Club packages.  Her mother had sadly passed away earlier in the year and she had told Whitney that the song reminded her of her mother.   I think it's quite something for Whitney to add a song which she hasn't performed live as yet especially for one of her fans.  Moments like this restore your faith in the old line "my fans mean so much to me" or "this one is for my fans" which I have heard being overused by artists over the years.  To witness the 'repayment' to a fan's investment is priceless really.

"Get It Back" needs more of an introduction; Whitney needs more of an introduction.  The song is fine to open with but for the 'ultimate diva', Whitney comes on fairly casually at the top of the stairs on her stage.    A silhouette or an explosion wouldn't go amiss.  I can't fault "Heartbreak Hotel" - I can even forget that the original also features Faith Evans and Kelly Price.  Whitney carries this well. 

Vocally, Whitney was in good shape and some of the notes she belted out were beyond compare but I did get the impression that there was a little less effort in tonight's performance.  It wasn't overly obvious but comparing three successive shows does give the right to judge the difference.  Whitney definitely had alot of fun on stage with her band.  She noticeably made contact several times to her Platinum Club fans and even announced their presence to the audience tonight.

"My Love Is Your Love" would make for an excellent encore song.  Whitney loves singing this.  The audience's reaction to the song is great - it's great to have had this song close to me for so many months and now to have it regarded as universally familiar.  I always knew it would make it through.

BeBe Winans sat off stage and just before Whitney sings "I Love The Lord", he steps up on a platform which raises him enough for the lights to find him so he can sing a few lines of a Gospel song which Whitney had started (all Acappella).  BeBe has a brilliant voice, he knows how to belt his lyrics out.  Very impressive.

"I Love The Lord" is the Whitney Houston live song.  It's where Whitney goes from being regarded as a pop singer "who talks about God sometimes" to a Gospel singer who can sing pop.  I remember looking around on each of the past three shows and the initial expressions of apathy or unfamiliarity of this song go to intense examination as Whitney ad-libs the end in her indescribable way.  This is not to say that London now understands Gospel and understands Whitney Houston, it just means she's passed the credibility test where people think "wow, she means all that stuff".

I commented earlier in the week that Whitney needs to make more of a statement of the "I Will Always Love You" intro.  It creeps in the back door and I think tonight, only a handful of people recognised it's arrival.  Whitney stepped back, drank a little and returned to her mic to make the statement intro the audience wanted.   The reaction was fantastic.   The song is dramatic.  Give it some drama.

For the Encore, Whitney didn't change outfit.  This meant her dance moves were somewhat more restricted but she did okay.  She chose not to sing certain parts and the emphasis appeared to revolve around having fun with her dancers.  London loves this song and were more than happy it was the encore.

If Wednesday night was the night Whitney chose to prove her worth to London, then Tuesday night was the middle ground and tonight was the  "Now It's My Turn To Have Fun" night.

I'm sure I've forgotten so much of tonight's performance - it's been a whirlwind week which culminated in my meeting Whitney tonight.  Yea, you read it right - full report of that during Sunday.




n a v i g a t e  c l a s s i c  w h i t n e y

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