Thursday 29th January 2015
Sam Bailey in Leicester
Sell-out homecoming for Leicester singing star
By Trevor Locke with photos by Kevin Gaughan.
The De Montfort hall was packed to capacity tonight for the first big home show of the star who won the X Factor in 2013.
MIL was there to see Sam’s hour and a half long show and what a show it was!
Supporting Sam Bailey tonight was Daughters of Davis. Sisters Adrienne and Fern Davis will be accompanying Sam on her seventeen-date Power of Love tour, which started tonight here in Leicester and will take her to Cardiff, Southend, Birmingham, Nottingham, Glasgow, Manchester, Blackpool, Gateshead, Bath, Brighton, Oxford, Portsmouth and London’s Eventim Apollo.
Daughters of Davis have been taking their stylish mix of folk and soul across the UK and beyond since leaving the comforts of home for a never-ending tour in 2011. Since then, they have toured with Eels and Rebecca Ferguson, released two studio albums and gained support from companies as diverse as Farida Guitars and the Caravan Club.
The two singers made their mark on the DMH from the word go. Opening with their version of Billie Jean (Michael Jackson) they were an instant hit with the audience. In between their songs, the girls told stories about their life as touring artists, travelling the country in a camper van. They clearly had the full-capacity audience in the palms of their hands with their lively songs and engaging stage presence. The girls told us they had a video available which was about their life on the road. These perky princesses were a hit with everyone and delivered a very enjoyable first half to tonight’s show. They also showed that they had an edge to their act; referring to #notplaying the game, they said “There’s lot of ways to be beautiful.”
When Sam Bailey won the 2013 tenth series of The X Factor, like a lot of people, we were very excited. Whilst Sam is not the only singing star to have come from Leicester, she put our city on the map and created a media storm, not just in Leicester but around the UK.
When Sam Bailey arrived in Leicester in the eve of her TV show final, huge crowds of people turned out to see her:
X Factor star to get red carpet reception in Leicester tonight. Sam Bailey, from Leicester, is through to the finals of the TV show The X Factor. Tonight Sam will be given a civic reception ahead of her performance at The Athena Theatre. The prison officer from Leicester Forest East, whose emotional performances have captivated audiences since her first TV appearance back in August, will thank the thousands of Leicestershire fans who have voted for her each week by staging a homecoming gig in the city’s cultural quarter. The public can see Sam’s homecoming by gathering outside Curve, in Orton Square, from 5pm and watch the fireworks that will greet her arrival on the red carpet. City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “Sam’s achievement is extraordinary, when you consider the competition she has had to overcome to secure a place in the X Factor final.” Sam – who is the favourite to win this weekend’s final – said: “I want to thank all the people who have voted for me and continue to believe in me. “This is a dream come true for me and I will give it my all to win the final.” [Arts in Leicester magazine, 11th December 2013]
I watched the final on the TV at a bar in the city centre with a crowd of fans and it was an electrifying experience. We reported the news:
A singer from Leicester won the 2013 X Factor singing competition, televised tonight by ITV from the Wembley Arena. Having won the X factor, Sam Bailey will be joining Beyoncé on her UK tour. The 36 year old prison officer from Leicester Forest East was supported by X Factor judge Sharon Osbourne, wife of the heavy metal singer Ozzie Osbourne. Over one million votes were cast for the singer by viewers, leading to her winning the final prize over the other finalist 17 year old Nicholas McDonald. [Arts in Leicester magazine, December 2013]
The night before the finals, Sam came to Leicester to thank her fans for their support throughout the series:
At the Athena theatre, Sam put on a great show for the crowd. A film crew was with her and you can see their film on the TV when the X factor finals is broadcast on Saturday night. Sam Bailey’s performance was impressive – her powerful voice filling the large theatre with emotion and vitality. [Arts in Leicester magazine, 15th December 2013]
Tonight the De Montfort Hall was full to bursting with Sam’s adoring fans. The singer was on stage with a four-piece band and two of her favourite backing singers – one of whom was her vocal coach when she was taking part in the X Factor. Sam opened her show by singing Ain’t no mountain high enough (Sister Act), appearing on stage in a black two-piece outfit encrusted with sequins. The production lighting was spectacular and the sound superb. Sam Bailey is currently touring as a full production, which means all of the lighting and sound is carried with the tour, along with the techs who rig and de-rig it every day.
Sam Bailey’s songs had plenty of passion and oodles of impact. She evoked a huge cheer from the crowd when she told them that she was celebrating her eleventh wedding anniversary tonight. When Sam announced she would sing The Power of Love (originally recorded by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, and the title of Sam’s tour) a big “ooooo” went up from the audience. It was the title of Sam’s debut studio album. The whole of Sam’s set tonight was sensational. In between her songs, Sam talked to the audience about her experiences during the X factor tenth series before enthralling the audience with her big, belting ballads.
Looking every inch a star, in her sequin-studied back outfit and high heels, Sam confessed that she “would rather be in her football boots.” Playing on her “tom-boy image”, the ex-prison officer presented herself as being an ordinary person, a mother and wife and the kind of person that most of the people in the audience either were or would meet on a daily basis. Whilst some singing stars can dazzle people with their celebrity sophistication, Sam comes across as the housewife who did a “book-signing in Asda and then went off with a trolley do some some shopping.” Sam’s set ended with two of her favourite songs by Celine Dion; before coming back to add a couple of bonus numbers in her encore.