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Derren Brown - Live
Member Name: GuruOnAMountain
Derren Brown - Live
Date: 20/07/04, updated on 20/07/04 (2163 review reads)
Advantages: Amazing and unique show!, Fair price for tickets and merchandise., Tour visited many locations up and down Britain, so most people could be attend a venue near to them.
Disadvantages: The merchandise carfuffle at Glasgow and the crampt Palace theatre.
I'm a big fan of Derren Brown's TV shows, and couldn't resist the temptation of buying a ticket to his show at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in June. I was going with two friends, one of them a big Derren fan, like me, and the other being rather disinterested in him but coming along for the night out, nevertheless.
We arrived at the concert hall in plenty of time and we were soon ushered in to take our seats. We found ourselves three rows from the front, and I was sitting at the aisle seat. I started mildy panicking that I might have to participate and the atmospheric music playing over the speakers which sounded like it was from the chase scene in a horror movie didn't help to calm my nerves particularly well!
The clock ticked on and finally a voice appeared, godlike, over the speakers. Of course, all the audience recognised it as Derren's and started to go wild. Almost immediately, he explained that audience participation would be necessary and called someone from the front row up on stage. She was asked to pick up a piece of paper and throw it out into the audience to provide Derren with another willing 'volunteer', who was then asked to pick one from a selection of three coloured shapes pinned to a blackboard on a stage. They picked one, and of course Derren told them to pick up a sealed envelope lying on the stage and their guess was already writting (correctly) inside it.
Then he came to the stage and ordered everyone to stand up and take a pound coin in their hands behind their back. We were then all instructed to pick a hand to put it in, and he announced from the stage whether the left-handers or the right-handers had to sit down. To my dismay, I was one of the ones left still standing. Then we'd to do it again. I was left standing again. I decided that I would sit down on his next attempt, no matter what, but at that he jumped down from the stage and started perusing those left standing in order t
o drag some other poor soul onto the stage. I stared at my feet and concentrated on trying to get myself to melt into the hardwood flooring as he edged up beside me. He stopped at me and it felt like an eternity until he moved on up the hall. My friends kept mouthing, "You should've looked at him instead of staring at your feet and he might have picked you!" I was relieved to sit down at that point. In retrospect, though, it would've been cool to get to go up on the stage.
After this point he picked volunteers randomly by throwing frisbees or balls of paper, and often getting the audience members who caught them to throw them again etc. so people couldn't accuse him of having stooges in the audience.
We all watched in awe as Derren stole people's watches without them realising, confused people into losing bets with him, hypnotised men to fall asleep and then mentally 'throw' a number across to another volunteer at the other end of the stage who used automatic writing to write it down, recited off people's phone numbers that he'd memorised from the phone book. All of this, of course, was steeped in Derren's endearing cockiness and wit.
The second half was significantly darker and featured a seance not unlike the one he performed on channel 4 recently, but of course, when you're actually sitting in a dark hall full of people with Derren leading you all along from the stage like some sort of unholy conductor, it is far more frightening and engaging!
His grand finale was a magnificent magic square that got us all of our seats and he walked out to a rousing standing ovation.
After the show it was announced that he'd be signing programmes and merchandise at the foyer. Unfortunately there had been a problem with the merchandise and the stall hadn't been before the show, so it was being prepared as we all made a queue to meet the man. There was a lot of confusion as no one
seemed to know where Derren was going to sign, and then he came out and settled down next to the merchandise stall, so people were hopping out of the merchandise queue into the signing queue and people were getting annoyed. My friends and I were reluctant to stay, but decided to get a programme and see how fast the queue moved. The queue initially moved at a great speed, but slowed down as we got closer to Derren. Still, we decided we may as well stay now. I was feeling a bit fanatical and sad, and didn't really want to go and ask for an autograph, but decided to stay anyway. By the time we got up to him he must have signed at least 200 programmes and been detained for at least an hour after his show, but he was really polite and nice. When he said that he liked my t-shirt, I just had to red and giggly like a hormonal schoolgirl stuck in a lift with Justin Timberlake. I guess *ahem* he just has that effect on females!
We left a very happy trio. Even the friend who hadn't been a fan of him left in awe of the man.
So a few weeks later when I informed a friend down in London that I'd been to see him, she went off her rocker. She was desperate to go see him, and since I was going to be visiting her down in London anyway, she asked if I would come down a month or so earlier than I'd planned and go see Derren perform down there, too. I agreed without putting up much of a fight, I can assure you!
However, I was ultimately a bit disappointed. Glasgow Royal Concert Hall is one of my all time favourite venues and I would find it hard to beat at the best of times. The Palace Theatre in London seemed a little shabby and cramp to me, and we were in the first balcony, so the seats weren't as good as before. Obviously, I knew what was coming next and what jokes he was going to make, so it wasn't as magical a show for me as Glasgow was, but I did take the opportunity to buy a T-shirt at the London show. There was no announcements
of him signing anything made, but I wouldn't have waited for his autograph again, anyway, as I'm sure the poor bloke is probably going to develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome from all the signing he's doing before he turns 40, anyway, without people greedily wanting two signatures! Heehee.
All in all, I was not disappointed with Derren's shows, and would recommend them to anyone. The ticket prices in Glasgow ranged, I believe, between £15 and £17, while our London tickets were £25, while the stalls were £30. The merchandise was very fairly priced, too. My T-shirt only cost £10, and the programme was under a fiver. They were also selling Derren's DVD and VHS for reasonable prices, too. Unfortunately, Derren's tour is over for this year, but I believe that another is planned for September 2005.
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