In November 1980 I had got tickets to see Shirley in concert at Manchester Apollo Theatre and was going with a Bassey fan who had come over from Los Angeles. We had never met before but had corresponded for so a while and when she said she was to visit England it was an ideal opportunity to meet and see Shirley also.
On the way to the concert I was saying that the British audiences were a little more reserved as we tended not to applaud in the middle of songs as the American audiences did when she sang a particularly dramatic part.
The concert got underway and it seemed to be a very responsive audience and when Shirley came onstage she got a tremendous reception. All was going well and Shirley was in a terrific mood. She started to sing ‘The Lady Is A Tramp’ and forgot the words. She dropped the mic to the ground and put her hands on her hips. The audience were shouting things out like such as ‘start again Shirley’ when some guy shouted something out. Shirley didn’t hear what he said so hands still on her hips she said in a really broad northern accent ‘What’s that luv?’ The guy stood up and shouted out very loudly ‘I’ve heard you better!’. The audience gasped and then silence. Shirley looked stunned at first but then responded ‘You know what to do darling – leave!’ Suddenly this voice from the back of the theatre shouted ‘Kick the bum out Shirley!’. The audience started cheering and shouting ‘We love you Shirley’. The true professional always, Shirley raised her performance and gave a fabulous concert. I do not know how he had the nerve but the guy did go down to the front of the stage later and Shirley did shake his hand and give him a thumbs up. I had never seen anything like it and haven’t since.
On the way out of the concert my friend turned and said ‘We may not be as reserved as you British but we sure don’t insult her!’ Ouch!!
I never comment anymore on what audiences are like only on how fabulous Shirley is!