British dance pop celebrity Dua Lipa reopened Britain for stay music by performing a frantically choreographed hits medley in a swishy Union Jack mini skirt. After a yr with out concert events, the factor that struck me most was the sheer ear-shaking, bone-rattling quantity pumping out of the large PA because the 25-year-old sensation – who took hoome two awards – energetically cavorted with what host Jack Whitehall known as “a bubble of dancers.” I’ve by no means loved the chance of tinnitus fairly a lot. Overlook face coverings – it’s time to get the ear plugs out of storage.
Reside gigs are again. Nicely, nearly. The Brit awards ceremony on the O2 Area in London was the primary indoor giant scale music occasion to happen in Britain for the reason that authentic lockdown in March final yr. It was a part of the federal government’s Occasions Analysis Programme, following a small outside pageant and nightclub rave staged in Liverpool last month, which means that the invited viewers was not required to put on face coverings or to socially distance.
Nonetheless, with simply 4,000 folks occupying the huge area constructed for 20,000, the O2 appeared about as crowded as an agoraphobia conference in an plane hanger. Though the additional ground area was nicely used with two flashy multicoloured units, with exuberant designs, will probably be a aid when individuals are assured sufficient to get again onto the dance ground and perhaps even into the mosh pit. Warning was nonetheless a lot in proof. Even the celeb nominees have been seated on small tables with just one visitor.
The viewers primarily comprised frontline staff, with music business visitors and various skilled freeloaders (like me) comfortably sectioned off within the O2’s VIP suites. To realize entry, we needed to present a unfavourable check end result from the earlier 36 hours, and comply with be examined once more the next day. It was additionally broadcast on ITV in the event you didn’t fancy submitting to having your tonsils and nasal cavities repeatedly prodded and probed. However every thing moved effectively, with out queues or holdups. There are some benefits to small numbers.
The ceremony kicked off with pop-rock superstars Coldplay broadcasting from the a barge on the Thames, which could have appeared good in TV however truthfully felt a little bit of a cheat to everybody gathered contained in the constructing.
The pandemic was by no means removed from minds. Huge, tattooed neo-soul singer Rag’N’Bone Man introduced on the NHS choir for an emotional rendition of his social isolation ballad Wherever Away From Right here, with perennial Brits favorite P!nk beaming in her contribution from LA. Billie Eilish was the newest US pop celebrity to ship a prerecorded video to simply accept her award. No less than teen star Olivia Rodrigo had flown in from America and braved quarantine to carry out her breakout mega hit Drivers License, while celebrity Taylor Swift and sibling group Haim additionally took ten days in a resort to simply accept their awards (not coincidentally each being on the invoice for the upcoming digital Glastonbury pageant). Maybe probably the most thrilling efficiency was really a little bit of televised trickery, with Sir Elton John and Olly Alexander from Years & Years belting out a unbelievable pre-recorded efficiency of the band’s latest model of the Pet Store Boys’ It’s a Sin.
Feminine artists dominated proceedings, successful nearly each class for which they have been eligible, with TV expertise present singers Little Mix holding off all the standard boy gangs of rockers and rappers to turn into the primary woman group ever to win Finest Group. In a punchy and delighted speech calling out the misogyny of the music enterprise, they devoted the award to the Spice Women, Sugababes and all their uncared for predecessors.
The night time’s deserved if completely predictable greatest winner was Dua Lipa, who has been Britain’s solely substantial world hitmaker on this lengthy unusual yr. She picked up two awards, together with Finest Album for Future Nostalgia, an upbeat set that helped preserve pandemic kitchen discos going. She referred to as it an honour to be a part of this wave of girls in music, and devoted her award to nursing nice Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, and cheekily calling on the prime minister to grant one other NHS pay rise. If he was listening to the noisy cheer that adopted, I hope Boris had his ear plugs in.