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Live Review: Sophie Ellis-Bextor – 5th December 2023 – Eventim Apollo, London, UK

4 min read

It’s now officially the month of Christmas and as the festivities are in full swing around the country with lights being turned on, markets toasting chestnuts and people flocking to Winter Wonderland, popstars are also setting stages alight with shows centred around the most jolly time of year.

With a suitcase full of Christmas covers and chart hits spanning the last 20 years, pint sized pop icon Sophie Ellis-Bextor is performing up and down the country with her family in tow and more tinsel than an Amazon warehouse at this time of year, and last night it was London’s turn for the singer to bring her brand new show to fans who packed Hammersmith’s Eventim Apollo for a night full of songs, anecdotes and family surprises.

Presented in similar vein to her famous Kitchen Disco series which helped many of us through the lockdown days of Covid, Ellis-Bextor’s latest touring spectacle is a vibrant, engaging pop spectacle overflowing with Christmas classics, audience engagement and some of the pop world’s most successful pennings of the last couple of decades.

Opening the show at a little past 8.30pm, a giant white curtain fell to the stage floor to reveal the singer sitting on the back of a life-size white horse in a red glittery dress and Christmas hat as she dove straight into the show with a cover of Sleigh Ride. Throughout the course of the next 90 minutes fans were treated to a number of famous Christmas covers – from older classics like Brenda Lee’s Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, Shakin’ Stevens’ Merry Christmas Everyone and The Waitresses’ Christmas Wrapping through to more modern festive pop staples like Wham’s Last Christmas and Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You. After a series of humorous cracker-jokes including facts around pigeon feeding in the capital, pods on the London Eye and a pineapple shaped St Paul’s Cathedral providing a Panto-feel to the show, the singer introduced the crowd to a giant wheel that was positioned at the back of the stage and in Wheel of Fortune style, the addition of Catch You – which the singer comically described as “a fun pop song about stalking” – and a bouncy cover of Lionel Richie’s All Night Long were welcomed within the set.

With husband Richard on guitar and brother Jack on drums, the homecoming show was a family affair for Ellis-Bextor who’s 5 children were sitting comfortably backstage as their famous parents performed to a packed Eventim Apollo. Though the onstage antics must have seemed to enticing for the youngsters as they joined their parents on stage for a spectacular performance of Ellis-Bextors signature hit, Murder on the Dancefloor.

While Christmas was the theme of the night, it was the singers own hits that got the crowd worked up the most, notably a synth-heavy rendition of early breakthrough hit Groovejet and career highlight, Get Over You which both had the crowd providing a sturdy singalong with the pop icon as she got up close with fans in the front rows; many of were more than eager to show off their dance moves as the Take Me Home hitmaker encouraged the audience to join the choreographed moves during her performance of more recent hit, Hypnotised.

The crowd were certainly in the festive mood throughout the show as many were seen in head to toe Christmas costumes and were always ready to get up on their feet and dance along to the singer as she paced the stage singing the hits. Last nights performance was more of an ‘Audience With…’ style show as opposed to a regular pop concert and it was this that set this show apart from many others. Ellis-Bextor’s playful banter with the crowd was both engaging and entertaining as the set was a perfect combination of Christmas classics and the singers own successful pennings so there really was something to offer everyone that attended.

Setlist:
Sleigh Ride (Leroy Anderson & His Pops Orchestra cover)
Music Gets the Best of Me
Wild Forever
Catch You (Wheel spin song)
Hypnotized
A Thousand Orchids
Lost in the Sunshine
Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree (Brenda Lee cover)
Last Christmas (Wham! cover)
All Night Long (Lionel Richie cover) (Wheel spin song)
Get Over You
Merry Christmas Everyone (Shakin’ Stevens cover)
Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love) (Spiller cover)
Christmas Wrapping (The Waitresses cover)
Crying at the Discoteque (Alcazar cover)
Like a Prayer (Madonna cover)
Heartbreak (Make Me a Dancer) (Freemasons cover)
Murder on the Dancefloor

Encore:
Fairytale of New York (The Pogues cover)
All I Want for Christmas Is You (Mariah Carey cover)
Have yourself a merry little Christmas