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

Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

Chris Mugan
Monday 23 December 2013 13:50
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Kim Wilde has embarked on her first solo dates since 1986
Kim Wilde has embarked on her first solo dates since 1986

"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.

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