The WOW festival at the Southbank Royal Festival Hall started with one if the largest Peep groups gatherings I’ve seen, with many names from the forum meeting for the first time, people had come from Brazil, America, The Netherlands, Scotland, and a good sprinkling of us from much nearer to London. It was really great to see everyone together and chat before the concert started.

After 2 stunning performances by Kate Nash and VV brown, and a short interval Annie took to the stage.

As with many of Annies appearances, Annie played a solo set. The stage was simpler set than the previous artists with Annie sat at her keyboard swathed in black velvet and unusually was face on to the audience. She strode on dressed in her HIV t-shirt, black trousers and jacket and trilby.

After a huge reception Annie sat down and played the opening bars of “No more I Love You’s”, Annie’s voice was very strong and as ever added lots of ad lib flourishes to the performance.

“There Must Be An Angel” was next and delivered exactly what the audience were hoping for, a powerful confident rendition of Eurythmics only no. 1 single. Watch here

Annie in many of her recent solo performances has exhibited a real sense of fun and engagement with the audience. She finished “There Must Be An Angel” by waving her towel in the air before launching it behind her at speed, with a real look of mischievousness in her eyes.

Next came a nice surprise as the instantly recognisable opening bars of “Here Comes The Rain Again”, the audience cheered and encouraged Annie on. At the end of the song Annie said how she liked to play these old songs but was nervous, but that she wanted to face the fear and do it anyway.

“Little Bird” was next up but when Annie stopped the song expecting us to be singing there was silence, after some finger wagging and joking everyone joined in. At the end Annie shouted bravo and gave us all a clap. Watch here

She said at some point she would have to have a long chat about feminism but not just yet! And in the spirit of the night about equality Annie announced “And now a song written by a wonderful man, Bob Marley”.

It was an absolute joy to hear Annie perform “Waiting In Vain” again, a tough and complex song for Annie to sing and play piano too, Annie was really concentrating on delivering an exceptional vocal. Annie acknowledged the applause by tipping her hat toward us. Watch here

So now it was time for her speech.

Now the f word Annie announced, she asked for the house lights to be turned up so she could see everyone and said she was about to run her “I Am A Feminist” experiment.

She asked everyone in the audience, women and men to stand up if they are a feminist. Most of the Royal Festival Hall stood up. Then Annie said everyone who is standing up sit down and all those that were sitting down stand up. Annie joked saying I know you won’t stand up but seriously, equality is NOT a fight but we are determined to get the message through and not to be ashamed of the word feminism, and there are loads of good reasons why.

We need to change the way we see the world and hope tonight has been inspiring. It’s the only way we can change, by inspiring people.

Annie sat back down at the keyboard after a huge round of applause. I don’t think anyone was expecting what came next as Annie started playing “Love Is A Stranger”.

After about 4 lines  Annie stopped and said im so sorry i started in the wrong key. She apologised to Lola her daughter and said I have a habbit of doing this as Lola well knows. She started again and after a few lines she said that’s better. For me this was the hi-light of the evening and the audience were captivated. Watch here

Annie started with the opening bars to “Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves” and got some people to their feet. Annie stopped to listen if the audience were singing along, and said, only 2 people at the front here singing, and we should all join in.  She said how much she loves to hear the audience sing, so now bring it to me! She said the the 2 ladies dancing at the front, you get the gold star honey for dancing. Annie stepped away from her keyboard and brought the microphone to the front for people to sing into. Watch here

As the song came to an end, Annie went to walk of stage, stopped briefly, did a Highland jig and left the stage.

The audience were on their feet, and calls for Annie to come back were very quickly rewarded.

Annie ran back on and said, I thought it better run on in case they change their minds. Annie sat back down at the piano, and the audience sat down as the opening bars of “Sweet Dreams” were played. I dont think many people had recognised the song as most of the audience sat back down. Annie stopped playing, and with a huge grin said, come on guys, this is not a sitting down song!

It was a great version of “Sweet Dreams”, im always amazed at how fresh this song can sound when perfomed by Dave or Annie in a different way, but with the song over, Annie picked up her black jacket, threw it over her shoulder and swaggered off stage with her hat with amazing style and grace, and with an audience absolutely captivated by what they had just seen. Watch here

Annie made a brief appearance at the end of the evening on stage with all of the other performers and orgnaisers of the event. Annie spoke briefly about the importnace of the festival, and whether we wanted them do it all again next year. After a few press photo’s they left the stage, and the evening was over.

Great memories of an amazing evening, and shared with so many Peeps. Good fun.

Track Summary:

No More I Love Yous
There Must Be An Angel
Here Comes The Rain Again
Little Bird
Waiting In Vain
Love Is A Stranger
Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves
Sweet Dreams (Encore)

Here’s our gallery of photos (we couldnt use flash) and check these from Getty Images We hope to bring you some better photos later over the weekend.