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PETER KAY LIVE

PETER KAY LIVE IN LEEDS – WHAT HAPPENED?

Often, when we’ve been made to wait for something for a long time, when it eventually comes, we just don’t enjoy it as much. Too much hype and expectation can mean that when you finally get ‘the thing’, it’s not quite what you expected it to be.

Tonight, having waited a couple of years after the original gigs were cancelled, we finally sat
down to the full experience of Peter Kay, live at Leeds. And he most certainly did not disappoint.

Tonight, we’re treated to much of what you’d expect, I suppose. There are gags about favourites like old telly, growing up, his mum, his grandma and even Uncle Knobhead makes an appearance. There’s even a bit of room for a couple of ‘garlic breads’ too!

We start though, with a routine about old adverts and their theme tunes, which in true Kay style, is done via a few handy chocolates and some shout outs from the audience. Soon we’re reliving the Flake advert from the 70s and doing the Shake and Vac and within minutes Peter Kay has the entire arena in the palm of his hand as we ride away on an expected, yet brilliantly entertaining wave of nostalgia!

Such is Kay’s level of comfort on stage that you get the impression there’s actually no great plan tonight. A case of someone who’s just got funny bones, as the say. There are definitely ‘signposts’, if you like where it’s obvious that this was a topic he’d planned to regale us with, but then there are whole chunks of the act where he’s just off on a tangent and it feels like it lasts for ages.

Mention of his old friend Paddy McGuiness then leads on to other famous people he’s met and we have a few Eric Clapton stories and a riff on Lionel Ritchie’s ‘Hello’ video before eventually he returns back to the point and completes the original McGuiness story. But it works. Every time I manage not to laugh, all I’m able to hear around me is thousands of people crying with laughter.

Before we know it, it’s time for an interval and in a sense, I’m quite relieved to give my face
a rest as it genuinely aches from all the laughing. It’s not as if you can complain though! When he comes back on stage there’s a shift in topic and a surprising amount of knob gags actually, as Peter treats us to some tales of middle age health issues, which draw yet more laughter – and more achy face action – but also quite a bit of wincing from this particular middle-aged writer!

Then there’s more nostalgia, a bit more of a sing-a-long and a particularly touching section about his family before Kay takes his leave of the stage. But it’s not over yet…

Within seconds he’s back on stage with a couple of familiar friends; a microphone and his famous little tape recorder. It’s time for some more misheard lyrics! Now some might be critical of this kind of thing; it’s been done before and not just by Peter himself. But, I’ve got to be honest, he’s the absolute master here and this might be the funniest section of the night.

All too soon though it’s all over, but without giving the game away, there’s even more to come in the form of a grand finale. Just when we think it’s all over there’s a question on the video screens in front of us; ‘Do you want some more?’ Do you know what, I think we do! I’m not one for spoilers so I won’t give you one, but I will say that you’ll love the big finish.

It’s really quite the spectacular and for people who might be critical of Kay and his observations, this is actually very, very clever indeed. There’s another surprise celebrity appearance – this time sort of in person – and then with faces aching and hands clapping, we wave goodbye to Peter Kay for the final time tonight.

Before tonight, a friend who’d seen Peter live in January told me it would be everything I’d hope for. She wasn’t wrong. On a Friday night in Leeds, Peter Kay has made around 13,000 people laugh hysterically for around two and a half hours with daft stories, gags about growing older, famous faces and more than a few sing-a-longs. Sure, it’s been a bit of a wait, but really, what more could you ask for?

WORDS BY GRAHAM CROSBY

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