Dame Shirley Bassey, Blickling

The queue said it all – there's a diva in town. And luckily for the 8000-strong audience she had brought the sultry summer weather with her.

By CAT BARTMAN

The queue said it all – there's a diva in town. And luckily for the 8000-strong audience she had brought the sultry summer weather with her.

Dame Shirley Bassey, 64, added more than a bit of glamour to Blickling Hall last night when she performed one of a select handful of open-air concerts.

Other stately venues have included Ragley Hall in Hampshire, Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire and tonight she performs at Knebworth House in Hertfordshire.


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The temptress from Tiger Bay sold out weeks ago and follows in the footsteps of rock legends Roger Daltry and Bryan Ferry. Chris de Burgh performs at the venue tonight.

Concert promoter David Hartfield said: “Shirley loves performing, the more people the merrier. A lot of these artists have got their fan clubs, got their records and want to do concerts that are just slightly different.”

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After the crowd were warmed up with the jazz of Kenny Ball and his band, the sun set and the candles were lit.

Unlike her predecessors at Blickling, Britain's most successful female artist added an extra touch of sparkle dressed head to toe in shimmering gold sequins.

It was fitting, then, that she opened a 90-minute, 20-song show with her 1964 hit and James Bond theme song Goldfinger.

The crowd leapt to their feet as the great Dame belted out the million-selling hit, one of 30 in a career spanning more than 40 years.

Then there was her first UK number one hit As I Love You, along with Never Never Never.

But not content with her own hits such as Big Spender and Diamonds Are Forever, Dame Shirley threw in the Beatles' Hey Jude and the Doors' Come On Baby Light My Fire.

The response from the crowd was unanimous.

Maureen Wells from Roughton was with a party of 14 people at the concert. “We're thoroughly enjoying ourselves,” she said. “For her age she's absolutely brilliant.”

Sylvia Watts, from Sheringham, said: “It's been a fantastic evening. I'd like to see her come back again.”

Terry Cockroft, from Hunstanton, saw the diva many years ago when she was a stand-in. “Not only is she a good singer, she's a good performer,” he said.

Dame Shirley told the crowd: “What a lovely evening, finally, you don't know the cold nights and the rainy nights I have been singing through.”

A voice from the crowd shouted: “We love you.” “I love you,” Dame Shirley cried back.

And the fireworks continued into the night.

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