I’m not a spontaneous person. But sometimes it has been known for me to make a split decision that really wins out. And so when Claire and Matthew came over for sups a few weeks ago, and Claire mentioned that the marvelous Puppini Sisters were to host a Christmas Special at the wonderful Union Chapel, somehow Claire had bought tickets for the four of us from her iPhone within minutes. And I’m so glad she did.
I adore the Union Chapel for its architectural splendor and great programme. And I adore the gloriously vintage Puppini Sisters, whose albums I never tire of. Most of all though I think, I adore Christmas, and so the combination of all three was set to be a real treat.
After a wonderful support act from Tea Dance Band (and some rather fitting tea and cake at our seats…splendid!), the girls began with Jingle Bells, and we were quickly in the festive spirit and clapping along. But it was Wham’s Last Christmas that truly got my Christmas juices flowing in a remarkably gorgeous version, in the girls’ smooth, 30s style of course.
It got more soppy still as the girls and the fabulous string section took on the enchanting Moon river to perfection. And back to Christmas, the girls totally nailed one of my favourites, O Holy Night before an awesome rendition of Walking in a Winter Wonderland.
Their Silent Night was all the more touching and goose pimple inspiring as they’d adapted the lyrics to include the story of The Little Match Girl. But not to remain too serious for long, Kate told us how their next number (and another Christmas favourite of mine) was pinched by the lovely, but ‘dirty rotten thief’ Michael Buble for his Christmas album. One can hardly blame him though as what Christmas record would be complete without Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas? And that one even inspired Adam to some clicking and bobbing along with the horn section who were making up funny routines with clicking and jazz hands.
After some new songs from their album out on Boxing Day, we were asked if we were ‘ready for some youth culture?’ And ready we were as the girls performed their wonderful Crazy In Love, complete with Beyonce booty jiggle.
Announcing it was home time, they pretended to finish with the first single from their new album, which I was delighted to hear is a fabulous version of Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend (very apt for my Marilyn obsession). But, with the crowd stamping out on the chapel’s wooden floor for more, and after the cheeky horn section had encouraged us to shout Encore, the girls came back to rapturous applause.
And with probably their best number of the night, they sang us out to Elton John’s classic, Step Into Christmas, with the usual Puppini twist of course.
Such a deliciously smooth and retro evening, and a marvelous start to Christmas!