Monday, October 20, 2014

She Dreamed a Dream

Last Thursday night, we had the joy of attending Susan Bole’s one-night concert at the Segerstrom Center for the Performing Arts in Costa Mesa. We got our tickets shortly after they went on sale. Our seats were in the front row at the center of the balcony. Nice unobstructed view.

The show began with Lance Ellington, a talented singer, who sang a couple of numbers ala Michael Buble. Then he introduced the lady we had come to see.

She appeared in silhouette while the audio of her introduction to the judges on Britain’s Got Talent was played. No one who has ever seen the original video with the judges’ reactions will ever forget it.

Finally, she appeared in the spotlight.
Her stylists have done a great job with her clothing, hair, and makeup. She looks at least ten years younger than she did when she first burst upon the scene.

Then she opened her mouth, and that amazing voice burst forth. I am stunned whenever I hear her youthful tone and the total mastery and control she displays. Her selection of material provided tremendous variety in tempo and styles.

She was accompanied by a seven-piece orchestra and two female backup singers plus Lance Ellington. However, she sang most of her songs solo.

She finished the first set with a moving rendition of “You Raise Me Up,” accompanied by the Costa Mesa High School Choir. The song always makes me cry, and this time was no exception. I wondered how she could possibly top it at the end of the show, and then I realized she could.

She began the second set with “Oh Happy Day,” once again with the kids. Upbeat, and filled with energy, the song brought her back with a bang.

Each song seemed to have deep personal meaning for her, and she shared her connection to the music with the audience, who responded with love. Many Brits and Scots displayed their colors throughout the crowd. A group with distinct Scottish brogues sat behind us and fully delighted in the evening.

Susan still has moments onstage when she returns to the awkward little Scottish lady who gathered her courage and overcame her fears in order to go for her life’s dream. Those displays of awkwardness make her seem even more appealing and accessible.

A number of the songs came from her new album, “Hope,” coming next week. (Mine is already on pre-order.) The song “I Can Only Imagine” always reminds me of my friend from Downey Savings. Lily passed away from cancer, and this was her favorite song. I always miss her when I hear it.
Several of the songs were new to me, but all suited her voice and style. I own her other albums, and I’m delighted whenever one plays on my iPod. (I have my playlists set up to play at random because I enjoy the surprise.)

From first song to last, the quality of her voice remained powerful. To me, it seemed even better hearing it in live performance.

The little Scottish lady who had the audacity to think she could compete with the younger and more attractive performers on Britain’s Got Talent dreamed a dream. Each step along the way, she has met and far exceeded each goal. Right now, she is fulfilling another dream: a tour off the US.

As expected, she closed the show with the song which launched her career. The audience responded enthusiastically from the first note. Somehow, the lyrics totally encompassed everything this unassuming lady had spent her whole life preparing for. Despite how overwhelming the initial reaction to her was, causing her to withdraw to adjust, she now seems to have found a place where she is comfortable with her fame.

Of course, “I Dreamed a Dream” brought a long, standing ovation. (Several other songs had received standing ovations throughout the show, but this one surpassed the rest.)

What a wonderful life lesson in pursuing our vision, even when no one else believes in it. And what a wonderful gift she has given to the world.

If she comes to your city, don’t miss the chance to see her in person.

Have you ever stayed the course when others encouraged you to give up? Was the struggle worth the discouragement and frustration?


  1. Fantastic review. I had the privilege of attending her concert in Phoenix, and every word you said is true! It was a wonderful experience, and I echo your encouragement to others... if they get a chance, don't miss it!

    1. I am so inspired by her--not only by her amazing voice (the sound of an angel) but also of her gritty courage.

  2. Wonderful review! I saw her in person for the first time last November when she sang at Lakewood Church in Houston and then was able to meet her at the Meet and Greet later that day. Tomorrow night, my daughter and I are attending the San Antonio concert. I can't wait!!! We are soooo excited. I have been reading various reports from fans who have attended her US concerts and they all say what a wonderful experience it is!

    1. How very fortunate you were to have actually met her. I love that she is still the same slightly awkward wee Scottish lady, but with the courage of a lion.

  3. I love her voice the moment I heard it. I was in Italy and my sister had the tv on and when I heard that voice I ran in to see who was singing. It was unbelievable. I have all her CD's

    1. Her new one is out! She did several of the songs during her concert, so I can't wait to add it to my iPod.

  4. Delightful appraisal and review Lorna. Nothing can adequately describe seeing Susan singing live in her concert - you came close. I saw Susan 4 times in the UK this year when she was touring. Best decision I made to see her performing, entertaining and singing with her rich and powerful voice.

  5. Snapshot of Susan Boyle's UK concerts, which are similar to the US concerts.

    1. I'm sure they worked out all the details well in advance. So glad she has good advisers. They present her magnificently.