In 1978, at just 19 years old, I excitedly bought one of my first concert tickets — to see the great lady herself, our favourite Bond girl and legend that is Shirley Bassey. I was introduced to her music and amazing performances in my teens via her UK BBC TV series. At this point I’d also started my collection of Bassey albums on vinyl (which now totals 64 by the way). It was known that she would like to stay at the sumptuous, art deco, London hotel The Dorchester.
As Easter was approaching, I bought her a gift wrapped Easter Egg from the luxury department store Selfridges and had it sent to the hotel. The Royal Albert Hall is such a stunning venue for a show, steeped in history and directly facing/overlooking the royal Hyde Park. The show did not disappoint. Shirley was at her peak. Incredibly, she opened with “Goldfinger” which surprised me, but being a singer myself now, I kind of understand why — she probably wanted to hit that song first, in case her voice got tired through the two-hour show.
At the end of the performance many audience members ran forward to be closer, including me. Security didn’t stop us — I guess they’d been instructed to allow it. Some people gave her flowers, some cuddly toys, others just shook her hand. As she passed me, I said hesitantly, “Did you get my Easter egg?”
To my joy and delight, she paused, looked directly at me, smiled and said, “Oh it was yours — yes, thank you.” I floated out of the auditorium with a memory that I’ve treasured for life.
Limahl’s new single, “Still in Love,” is out now.