Anastacia - Cardiff International Arena
I’m beginning to think that I am jinxed. This is the third gig in a row for me that has been beset by ‘technical problems’ which push the stagetimes back. This time it is a faulty guitar amplifier which is causing the slow hand claps and irate punters to come up and berate me ‘Why don’t you let the public know what is happening one guy shouts in my face. I dunno mate, I’m just a photographer I shrug, but he doesn’t give in so easily. Thankfully I am saved as the houselights finally fade and an animated lift drops down behind the stage to reveal the lady herself; the Yanks know how to work a crowd and Mr Angry is screaming and punching the air like a 12 year old girl, his ire forgotten in an instant.
Don’t call it a comeback, but Anastacia been away from the charts for so long that this is pretty much what we are seeing here. She’s at pains to tell us what a regular gal she is and you know, you can’t deny that she’s a born fighter, overcoming Crohns Disease and, more recently, being struck down with cancer at the peak of her fame. She sensibly opens the show by taking the audience back to those halcyon days and the hit single One Day in Your Life which (coincidentally?) shares its title with a Michael Jackson smash hit. After all the delays in hitting the stage one might have expected her to be a bit petulant but not a bit of it, she apologises profusely and, sensibly blames it all on the guitarist.
Perched atop her chunky soled clogs she seems genuinely thrilled to be here in front of a crowd and spends the show coaxing them into joining the party she’s having in her head and by the end of the night we’ve all waved our hands in the air and partied like we just don’t care more times than we can remember. She’s a born entertainer and not even the rather tedious balladry which infects much of the heart of the show can dull her abilities to shower us with her glittering star quality. Yeah, she’s a star alright but, (you just knew there would be a ‘but’ didn’t you?) the music is pretty ghastly fare veering from bland to bombastic in equal measure. Maybe this shouldn’t be a major shock to us as, according to the Daily Mail (Hey,it might be true) Anastacia doesn’t even like music – hell she even goes as far as to say she finds it irritating – so it is no wonder she goes to such lengths to avoid playing much which I recognise as music.
That might make me sound a bit elitist but, hell, I love pop music and I don’t think Anastacia really does the music thing very well, but that is ok as she makes up for it by just being exceptionally entertaining. She’s a pop star for her kindred souls, those that don’t really like music all that much but who don’t want to be left out of popular culture. She keeps her fans waiting for the real big hitters from her early years, closing the show with Not That Kind and coming back to give them her debut smash I’m Outta Love. Music haters of the world unite – Anastacia is back where she belongs.