THE MATT GOSS EXPERIENCE – BRIGHTON CENTRE 1.4.23
Matt Goss is currently at the beginning of his 18 date UK tour accompanied by the M.G Big Band and the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, no less. The first date of the tour was at London’s legendary Royal Albert Hall and you can’t get much grander than that. We were potentially in for a treat as we were about to witness Matt perform his Las Vegas residency show, but this time beside the seaside (He has had a residency in Vegas for eleven years now, including performances at Caesar’s Palace). On Matt’s website, we are told that the show will lean heavily on the works of Cole Porter (but not exclusively) along with material of his own delivered in a similar style. He has recently been dubbed ‘Britain’s Sinatra’ so I was officially intrigued.
If you didn’t already know, Matt Goss was originally the frontman and singer of 80’s teen pop sensations ‘Bros’. He formed the band in question in 1986 with his brother Luke, who were joined by school friend Craig Logan on bass duties. Originally from Camberley in Surrey, they spent much of their youth in Peckham (London) while hatching their chart conquering masterplan.
By the year of 1988, their plan had indeed worked with the help of manager Tom Watkins who also had history with managing the Pet Shop Boys. Their breakthrough single was the unforgettable ‘When Will I Be Famous ?’ but their follow up, ‘I Owe You Nothing’ hit the number one spot in the UK charts, cementing their popularity at the time and building up a huge fanbase (‘Brosmania’ anyone?). Fans were also reported at the time to be wearing Grolsch bottle tops on their shoelaces to show their allegiance to all things ‘Bros’.
They sold 16 million records worldwide, but in 1992 they decided to call it a day. Fast forward to 2017 though, and an inevitable reunion was on the cards. Most recently, major interest was piqued by a 2019 documentary film made about the brothers called ‘Bros: After The Screaming Stops’ which documented their reunion plans whilst giving us some priceless meme worthy nuggets of information about the pair.
They were even responsible for influencing a ‘campaign to legalise conkers’ (Watch the film). It was the best thing on TV that Christmas by far. Matt Goss has continued to be in the limelight ever since and my mum reminded me that he had recently appeared on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’.
Anyway, tonight is not all about ‘Bros’ (even though it’s impossible not to mention them). The band’s original teen fans from way back when must be aged 40 plus by now and I think there were a lot in attendance tonight if the frequent whoops of “We love you Matt” were anything to go by.
Matt has enjoyed popular solo success since the band’s demise and in 2020, released a single called ‘If I Ain’t Got You’ which raised over £15,000 for the NHS over the Covid pandemic period. His fifth solo album, ‘The Beautiful Unknown’ (2022) even zoomed straight into the Top 10 of the UK charts like a dart (watch the film).
Matt Goss now resides in Las Vegas and as mentioned earlier has been performing there with this Cole Porter themed act for over a decade now. The late Cole Porter (1891 – 1964) was a legendary American composer and songwriter with a massive songbook to his name who was also known for his witty lyrics as well as having his songs featured in films and on Broadway. He must be a big hero of Matt’s so it would be interesting to see how he translates these legendary songs from the Great American Songbook this evening.
On arriving at the venue, My wife and I inadvertently got involved in a touch of Celebrity Dog Spotting as we spied Matt Goss’ dog (Reggie) being taken for ‘walkies’ round the back of the building. We knew it was his dog as he posted a picture of Reggie during the day on Facebook as he was traveling down to Brighton.
Upon entering the Brighton Centre we noticed that the upstairs and side seating had been curtained off so the audience were all on the same level. It made it all feel quite intimate. The blue backlit stage looked quite impressive with the ‘M.G’ moniker illuminated on the backdrop and the Orchestra podiums were set up in an old Big Band style. The band were about ten minutes behind schedule but before we knew it, the 15 piece Orchestra were assuming their positions and the pianist/music conductor walked on to big applause as people mistook his silhouette for Matt Goss. The audience’s blushes were short lived though as Matt swaggered onto the stage looking dapper in his black suit.
The first song of the evening was ‘Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall In Love)’ which was originally a song written by Cole Porter but made famous by Ella Fitzgerald. It was soon very evident that the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra were on fire and the rock guitar during this song gave the song extra wallop alongside Matt’s impressive vocal.
The whole affair was relaxed from the get go as Matt spoke to the audience whilst leaning on the piano, and urging the crowd to shout out “Ching” every time he took the stopper off his decanter of what I can only presume was brandy. Fans’ hearts were suddenly a flutter as Matt walked into the audience with a personal bouncer in tow (a man mountain called Ninja) picking out audience members to make a toast while handing out a free shot to them. This was very amusing, but I was hoping I wasn’t about to be selected as I was driving tonight.
During ‘Luck Be A Lady’, Matt showed off his dance moves to whoops from the audience. Things slowed down about now as he sang Nat King Cole’s ‘Nature Boy’ which he heart-warmingly dedicated to his grandparents. Next up, was the classic ‘Feeling Good’ which I think everyone knows. It was around this time that he jumped back into the audience and selected a guy who decided to make a toast to Donald Trump. Matt looked shocked and mouthed ‘WTF!’ and briskly walked on.
Then, was the moment we had all been waiting for…..Matt Goss brought Reggie the dog to the stage! (I must say, he looked quite comfortable up there and seemed to take the attention in his stride). It was getting near the end of Matt’s first set, so treated the crowd to one of his solo songs (‘Mustang’) and ended with the BROS hit, ‘I Owe You Nothing’ which sent the fans into a spin. Even the ice cream vendors in the corner of the room were jumping around to it. The new arrangement of the song felt quite strange to my ears initially but once my ears had adjusted, I enjoyed feeding off the enjoyment in the room. The song even ended in a James Bond mash up which worked very well. Matt exited the stage as we rushed to the loo/bar before the second act. I must admit, that was a lot of fun.
After a twenty minute break, Matt was back and hanging out amongst his fans in the crowd, with his bottle of brandy and his bouncer on pouring duties. Mr Goss climbed back on stage to give his pianist a hug before performing one of his own numbers called ‘All About The Hang’ followed by Cole Porter’s ‘Love For Sale’ which was a funky version of the song with a brilliant band to pull it off (the horn section were amazing).
By this time, many people had left their seats and were gathering at the front of the stage as Matt shook their hands. Things slowed down for a bit with his rendition of ‘Every Time We Say Goodbye’ followed by fan favourite ‘Beautiful Unknown’ which got everyone in the room singing along. Matt even dedicated a song to Terry Hall of The Specials at one point which I wasn’t expecting but was wholeheartedly respecting.
As we approached the end of the second act (and the end of the night), we were treated to another ‘BROS’ number by the name of ‘When Will I Be Famous ?’. It was performed at times in a Ska fashion too which strangely worked and of course the crowd went wild and also received the biggest cheer of the night.
Last but not least was to be Matt’s version of Sinatra’s popularised ‘My Way’, which he told us you have to earn the right to sing when in Vegas (It took him 6 years). It was a rousing version I am happy to report, and a great way to end the night.
As we left the building, fans were waiting outside for a hopeful glimpse and chat with the man himself. Matt Goss “owed us nothing (nothing at all)” tonight, but along with his brilliant orchestra, proved he can pull off a very entertaining evening. Now….where are those Grolsch bottle tops again?
The Matt Goss Experience setlist:
‘Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall In Love)’
‘Luck Be A Lady’
‘Let’s Not Talk About Love’
‘Fly Me To The Moon’
‘Mustang’ (Matt Goss)
‘I Owe You Nothing’ (BROS)
‘All About The Hang’ (Matt Goss)
‘Love For Sale’
‘The Day We Met’ (Matt Goss)
‘Every Time We Say Goodbye’
‘Beautiful Unknown’ (Matt Goss)
‘When Will I Be Famous?’ (BROS)
‘Just For A Change’ (Matt Goss)