Heather Small - The Grand, Clitheroe
Friday 28th March
Making our way to Clitheroe was problematic to say the least, trust us to set out in the middle of rush hour! 2 and a half hours later, after a lengthy car journey, my friend Stuart and I finally arrived in the small rural town. The "The Grand" is a brand new 3 Million pound venue which used to be a local cinema, and on the opening night it had some very special guests indeed.
Tonight the venue was looking stunning, after a champagne reception with the VIPs, the locals (and Heather Small fans) were let in from the rain. I could hardly believe my luck when I was directed toward the front seats, there was not a better seat in the house. On my left, the owner of the venue, on the right, the Mayor of Clitheroe and his wife. But most importantly, directly ahead, the stage!
With a capacity of no more than 300 it was an intimate evening with great talent. First up was Esther O'Conner, along with her Father (former Wet Wet Wet guitarist) and Brother, the O'Conner family impressed the audience and warmed them up nicely with their songs. There was a short ten minute break after their set and the audience was asked not to record any video, audio or take any photo's whilst the main act was on stage.
Heather Small took to the stage looking beautiful in a long black dress and silver stilettos, accompanied only by two talented backing singers. Straight away Heather started belting out her signature song, classic anthem "Proud" and the audience were hooked. The set list was short and sweet but non the less very impressive, showcasing Small's solo hits as well as classics from M People. The title track of Heather's 2006 release "Close To A Miracle" and the classic "How Can I Love You More" were the evenings highlights! A dedication went out in the form of "Search For The Hero" to all who made the dream venue a reality, and she even broke out into some sexy dancing. This obviously proved too much for one of the more "mature" VIPs as he took his handkerchief from him pocket and let out a infatuated whistle whilst wiping the sweat from him brow. He was not at all pleased when Heather directed her attention to Myself and friend Stuart on one verse of "Moving On Up", she sang the line "I've had enough of me, baby, being part of you" accompanied by a wink and kiss, we naturally returned the favour and broke out in dancing! Madonna eat your heart out, this lady has real sex appeal.
After her performance Heather returned to the stage for one last song and to thank the audience. A fantastic end to the night, although it had come far too quickly. But with the help of a little sweet talking, we were honoured with the opportunity to meet the star herself. A very genuine woman with a warm personality, Small happily signed my album covers and posed for photo's with us. The backing singers were also great, they complemented my hair and chatted to us for a while, suggesting we should travel to the M People concert in Denmark during the summer. But most importantly I got a hug and kiss on the cheek from Heather herself. Just like she sang only half an hour before, it really was "One Night In Heaven".