Source : Whats On Stage

Reproduced with kind permission of  Glenn Meads

Yesterday night – instead of flop in front of American Idol, I had a really special evening that I will never forget. After a particularly hectic day at work (added to the fact the night before I saw the wonderful Florence and the Machine at the Manchester Arena) – I was tired yet excited. My partner had won tickets (via My Lowry – a great scheme open to Salford residents giving them discounts and offering them invites to free events like this) to see the opening of the new House of Annie Lennox Exhibition at the Lowry. 


As the title suggests, this series of artefacts, costumes, video installations, awards, gold discs offers visitors a glimpse at the stage persona of a great British artist who has been pushing boundaries since her time in the Tourists, Eurythmics and beyond as a great solo star and ambassador for many great causes. As if this was not enough, the opening included a set delivered by the great lady, herself. 


My interest is Annie (Lennox, not the ginger haired moppet from the musical) stems back to the very first time I saw the video for Love is a Stranger. Not only was the music mesmerising but like the rest of the music fans, I was left asking Who’s That Girl? Many attribute the success of Lady Gaga for her ability to sing, dance, play the piano and paying tribute to the likes of Madonna and Marilyn Monroe. But If you look at early Annie Lennox creations, there is gender-bending, striking music videos, iconic imagery and a chameleon with a tremendous voice which soothes like coffee after a night on the tiles. 


This fascinating exhibition captures the Glaswegian gal with the carrot red hair when she was in her prime and beyond. It is worth a long look as there is so much to take in. It’s amazing how even gold discs with the original artwork framed – takes you back to the synthesizers and the suits which adorned so gracefully. One striking photo of Lennox performing to thousands at the Nelson Madela concert at Wembley is worth the admission price, alone. You see a see of fans in the shot with Annie foregrounded – clearly loving every minute of her performance.


If you, like me remember the amazing outfits – from the suits to the leopard skin and the glittery Vegas look of Diva – then you are in for a treat, as the greatest bits are on display and as soon as you glimpse them – the memories come flooding back. 


I was very lucky as I got to witness Annie singing the likes of Sisters Are Doin’ it for Themselves and Love is a Stranger live. The Eurythimics star talked about how nervous she used to be before going on stage and how comfortable she had become as she had got older. At 57 (although you really would not know it) she is still a force to be reckoned with as she tirelessly campaigns for her chosen causes including HIV.


If the idea of seeing a space devoted to one of your favourite performers sounds like Sweet Dreams just for the fans, think again. It is such a beautifully crafted collection so lovingly placed and curated by Lennox, The Lowry and the V&A that art and music lovers can unite and marvel at an incredible woman; her achievements, her outfits, the wow moments and that timeless music and the voice.


The whole exhibition made me proud to live to in Salford as the landscape has changed so much and this link between an international star and a vital part of the community – The Lowry proves that. With the BBC here and foot fall in the surround retail outlet increasing, the future is bright for the area. 


“I walk into an empty room and suddenly my heart goes boom” – apt lyrics from There Must Be An Angel as The Lowry, the V&A and Annie herself started with a blank space and have created an area filled with memories which bring life, energy and celebration into their gallery, leaving you misty eyed and keen to come back again for a return visit.


The House of Annie Lennox is at the Lowry until Sun 17 June.    

– by Glenn Meads