Sophie Ellis-Bextor at the London Palladium
In the peak of the 2020 lockdown, pop singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor and her family entertained thousands with weekly Instagram shows that transformed their kitchen into a makeshift disco. Its unprecedented success has led to charity danceathons, a compilation album, a weekly BBC playlist and now a nationwide tour that concluded last night at the London Palladium. A disco is anywhere with catchy music you can dance to; the Palladium may be slightly bigger than a kitchen but it was the perfect setting for feel-good song and dance.
Breathing new life into old hits (some already two decades old), the London-born performer wasted no time making an entrance, arriving on a giant plastic horse to sing Cher’s Take Me Home. Effortlessly dancing across the stage, there was certainly a sense of ease and feeling right at home. There was also an admirable dedication to the theme – both in the staging, which included a giant, sparkly disco ball and flashing, coloured lights, and also in the song choices. From Dancing Queen to Disco Inferno, covers were selected over her own material. The energy during classic floor-fillers like Lady (Hear Me Tonight), Sing It Back and Madonna’s Like a Prayer were only matched by Ellis-Bextor’s own collaboration Groovejet (If It Ain’t Love) and probably her most famed hit, Murder on the Dancefloor.
The evening was not all upbeat and upstanding: there were some surprisingly sombre moments that were just as captivating. A mid-show segment incorporated stripped-back love song Young Blood, penned about the relationship between her parents, which allowed the singer to remind of her distinct, sometimes powerful vocals. The family affair continued most notably with the singer’s husband bassist Richard Jones leading the band, as well as a touching finale accompanied by some of their children; for a moment it really felt like the Jones/Ellis-Bextor home.
There was some attention to detail that added quirky flair: the stage crew dressed as superheroes, a makeshift cocktail bar during the show and a “spin the wheel” interactive song selection that even led to an on-stage marriage proposal. Although this randomness also led to a few slightly out-of-place tracks, it didn’t distract from a thoroughly wholesome and entertaining performance.
Comfortably dancing (thankfully not in the choreographed sense), the down-to-earth singer – and crowd – never really stopped moving. “It’s just as well I find myself in the same mood as you”, she addressed the eager audience. Having transformed kitchens nationwide into dancefloors, the unapologetically glitter-filled party translated triumphantly onto the Palladium stage. There was no new record to plug or sell; it was simply a fun reminder of togetherness and the magic of a good ol’ boogie.
Photos: Virginie Viche
For further information and future events visit Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Murder on the Dancefloor here: