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Kim Wilde, gig review: 'poised halfway between sparkly housewife and down-to-earth celeb'

Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

"Thank you for allowing me to grow up in public," Hertfordshire's Christmas angel states - a trite phrase made believable as she is palpably enjoying herself, delighting in new-found acceptance.

This time last year, Kim Wilde became an unexpected YouTube sensation via camera phone footage of an impromptu, alcohol-fuelled performance on a train home from a party. On the back of her highest profile for well over a decade, she has released a game seasonal album and embarked on her first solo dates since 1986.

Tonight, Wilde makes the perfect host, poised halfway between sparkly housewife and a more down-to-earth celeb, miles away from her stop-start career as a manufactured starlet. This helps paper over the cracks of a long set, notably the simpering, self-penned mush from her current album and leaden soul-rock from 1988's Close.

Otherwise, the combination of eighties classics and Crimbo standards delivers an infectious brew, with the noirish 'Cambodia' and, of course, a rousing 'Kids In America' holding their own against cameos from dad Marty on Fleet Foxes' 'White Winter Hymnal' and a richly toned Rick Astley duetting on 'White Christmas'. "Maybe I'll see you next year," Wilde offers – and why not? She makes a fine Mrs Christmas.