A Life in Song (2002 concert)

The Royal Festival Hall, London, Monday 23 September 2002

A star studded tribute concert was held in London featuring a variety of artists performing Kirsty’s songs, and a handful of songs which Kirsty made her own.

Singers: Eliza Carthy , Christine Collister, Mary Coughlan, Evan Dando, Roddy Frame, David Gray, Boo Hewerdine, Phill Jupitus, Brian Kennedy, Johnny Marr, Mark Nevin and Tracey Ullman.

Players: Julian Cox (bass), Michèle Drees (percussion), Pete Glenister (guitar), Liam Kirkham (trombone & melodica), James Knight (sax), Neill MacColl (guitar), Dave Ruffy (drums) and Ben Storey (trumpet) with Boz Boorer (clarinet & guitar), Eliza Carthy (fiddle), Jem Finer (banjo), Roddy Frame (guitar), Boo Hewerdine (guitar), Johnny Marr (guitar), Mark Nevin (guitar), Omar Puente (violin and voice), Phil Rambow (guitar and vocals), Spider Stacey (tin whistle)

Musical Directors: Pete Glenister & Dave Ruffy. Compere: Phill Jupitus

On an emotional evening, this show was performed with such passion and gusto that it made us feel her absence more than ever. It was also of course an exhilarating opportunity to celebrate.

After years of performing in rather less grand settings, how she would have loved this! Her very own “tribute band” in the gorgeous setting of the Royal Festival Hall in London. with its players at the top of their game, an array of wonderful singers and ticket touts outside asking three times face value for the handful of briefs they’d managed to pick up. That’s Kirsty on the South Bank.

  1. ‘Fifteen Minutes’ sung by Phill Jupitus
  2. ‘Us Amazonians’ sung by Christine Collister
  3. ‘Free World’ sung by Boo Hewerdine
  4. ‘Innocence’ sung by Roddy Frame (with Eliza Carthy)
  5. ‘Wrong Again’ by Roddy Frame
  6. ‘Perfect Day’ and
  7. ‘He’s on the Beach’ sung by Evan Dando
  8. ‘Mambo de la Luna’ sung by Eliza Carthy and Christine Collister (with Omar Puente)
  9. ‘England 2 Colombia 0’ sung by Eliza Carthy
  10. ‘Bad’ sung by Mary Coughlan (with Boz Boorer)
  11. ‘In These Shoes?’ and
  12. ‘Head’ sung by Mary Coughlan
  13. ‘Dear John’ sung by Brian Kennedy (with Boo Hewerdine & Mark Nevin)
  14. ‘Angel’ sung by Brian Kennedy (with Omar Puente)
  15. ‘Don’t come the cowboy with me, Sonny Jim!’ sung by Brian Kennedy (with Boz Boorer)
  16. ‘Soho Square’ sung by Mark Nevin
  17. ‘My Affair’ sung by Christine Collister
  18. ‘Tread Lightly’ sung by Johnny Marr
  19. ‘Walking down Madison’ sung by David Gray (with Johnny Marr)
  20. ‘ou and me baby’ sung by Johnny Marr
  21. ‘Fairytale of New York’ sung by Mary Coughlan & Mark Nevin
  22. ‘They Don’t Know’ sung by Tracey Ullman and the Mosh Pit
  23. ‘Chip Shop’ sung by Tracey Ullman and everybody else.

BBC 6 music covered the event. On 23rd Sept 2002, Janice Long presented “Thank You For The Days”, celebrating Kirsty’s career in the words of her friends and contemporaries. The next evening, Phill Jupitus presented an edited broadcast of the RFH concert (apart from his own fifteen minutes!).

Eliza Carthy wrote in the Observer that her favourite happening in 2002 was “the Kirsty MacColl tribute at the Royal Festival Hall. Having never looked at Kirsty’s work seriously before, I hadn’t realised what a talent she was, and what fantastic musicians and friends she had around her. I was proud to be there to celebrate such a unique person.” Source: WE.

Brian Kennedy wrote website, “She was a brilliant woman, you know. I was very privileged to be her friend and obviously the loss still goes on. Every now and again I hear her on the radio and I think God I must ring her and then of course you remember that she’s just not there. It’s so weird. Again very privileged to be part of that celebration of her life that night in London.”

In 2010 they got up and did it all over again at the Concert for Kirsty MacColl.

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  1. Today is 23rd of september 2023. I will listen to the iconic Kirsty MacColl a life in song on the anniversary of this fabulous show of appreciation and respect in which Kirsty was held. I will open a bottle of good wine and have a special dinner to toast the Kirsty MacCOLL i have known and loved most of my life. It would be nice if an event of this nature could be organised every year

  2. What a wonderful celebration of Kirsty s music and beautiful personality. It shows the love that Kirsty was held in. I would dearly loved to have been there and got a programme but its great to listen to and bathe in the atmosphere on media. of course the evening should have been a tribute concert with Kirsty there in person. I will never forget you Kirsty and will love you always