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It’s been a busy year here at Ticketmaster HQ, and our team have been out experiences a huge range of the live events the UK has offered up across the last twelve months. To celebrate the end of the year (and indeed the decade), staff across the UK have democratically picked their favourite days and evenings out, across the world of music, theatre, sport, comedy and attractions.
Making the jump from Broadway to the West End, Come From Away has enjoyed a plethora of high-profile awards across 2019, not least the Olivier Awards for Best New Musical, Outstanding Achievement in Music, Best Theatre Choreographer, and Best Sound Design. It’s testament to the powerful spectacle unfolding on stage, as the musical tells the tale of the thousands of air passengers diverted in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Playing to nightly standing ovations, the universal message is unlikely to leave a dry eye in the house.
Just what might have happened had Juliet not committed suicide with her melodramatic lover Romeo? The answer to that question unfolds in the vibrant & Juliet, an upbeat retelling of the Shakespeare classic. Boasting a truly brilliant cast, and utilising the pop-opuses of songwriter Max Martin, it’s a truly unique and unashamedly fun trip to the theatre. Boasting music by heavy-hitters such as Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, Katy Perry and a whole load more, a jukebox musical has never been this ridiculously enjoyable.
Feature: All you need to know about & Juliet
Towards the end of 2019, the West End welcomed the transfer of Broadway sensation Dear Evan Hansen. It’s not surprising the the musical opened to a host of five-star reviews, having secured six coveted Tony Awards over in the States, not least the Best Musical gong. Critics are already praising the debut West End turn by lead actor Sam Tutty, in a show that delves into life, belonging, and the way we live.
Having walked away with the Ticketmaster Ticket of the Year award, both in the UK and globally, P!nk wowed fans back in the summer with a spectacular stadium run across the country. Bringing some of her biggest hits to huge venues, the power of the songs was easily matched by the visual spectacle the stateside star presented. Seeing her glide above the audience at Wembley Stadium whilst hitting every note of Rockstar goes down as one of the live highlights of the decade, never mind the year.
Donington Park once again hosted the alternative behemoth, and recent UK Festival Awards’ Best Major Festival Award winner, Download. Headlined in 2019 by Def Leppard, Slipknot and hosting the eagerly anticipated live return by prog-metal titans TOOL, the festival once again welcomed a huge selection of bands from across the alternative spectrum, as well as all the wrestling action directly from WWE NXT. With its sights already set on 2020, having confirmed KISS, Iron Maiden and System Of A Down at the top of the bill, the metal haven is set to return to the midlands next year.
It was perfect pop nostalgia for days as Spice Girls toured stadiums across the UK at the start of the summer. Bringing with them their iconic back-catalogue of hits, they delighted with spectacular production. Surrounded by dancers and raised high on platforms, they bursted on the stage with the anthemic Spice Up Your Life and retained the unfaltering momentum from there. Welcoming their mums onto the stage for the celebratory Mama added something truly special too.
2019 saw the return of Rhod Gilbert to the stand-up circuit, having taken a seven-year break. The Book of John sees him tour across the UK, as well as a stint at the acclaimed 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. He draws inspiration from John, his driver employed after Gilbert suffered a stroke. Filling a book with the questionable comments his chauffeur made during that time, Rhod has brilliantly adapted it into a near two-hour show that tackles first impressions, getting older, male infertility, acceptance and more.
Interview: Rhod Gilbert on his The Book of John tour
Airing its ninth and final season in early 2019, Still Game made its live farewell towards the end of the year with a residency at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro. Following the antics of Jack Jarvis and Victor McDade, based in the fictional suburb of Craiglang, the live show delivered sketch comedy, musical numbers, and ultimately a fitting end to a legendary tale.
Leaping into the top five on The Guardian’s list of the 50 best comedians of the 21st century, James Acaster has had a mammoth couple of years. Spending 2018 releasing four Netflix specials and unveiling his Cold Lasagne Hate Myself 1999 tour, his live dates has since spread into 2019. Celebrated as his most personal material to date, the show tackles mental health with an unfiltered yet considered humour, delivered through Acaster’s endless relatability.
Easily one of the biggest sport events of the year, the ICC Cricket World Cup took to eleven venues across the England and Wales from 30 May – 14 July 2019. Lord’s in England’s capital hosted the final, pitting New Zealand against the home nation England who ultimately went on to take home the highly coveted trophy. The tournament unfolded to sold out crowds across both England and Wales, and broke TV and digital viewing records, welcoming over 2.6 billion views across ICC digital and social platforms.
Returning to Wembley Stadium, and for the first time ever taking to the new state of the art home of Tottenham Hotspur, the NFL once again arrived in England’s capital for the 2019 London Games. The four games saw Oakland Raiders beat Chicago Bears, and Carolina Panthers succeed against Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tottenham, whilst Los Angeles Rams won against Cincinnati Bengals, and Houston Texans trounced Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley. Both stadiums enjoyed celebratory atmospheres across all four games as fans enjoyed a true taste of the stateside sporting spectacular.
Mitel & MLB Present London Series arrived in the capital in for the very first time in 2019, pitting New York Yankees against Boston Red Sox. The Yankees won both of the games, hosted at London Stadium, with the games forming part of four to be held in the city across both 2019 and 2020. Next year is set to host Chicago Cubs against St. Louis Cardinals in June, the games forming part of the stateside season. Outside of all the sporting action, fans experience a range of live entertainment, including the ever-popular giant mascot races. Visitors are even encouraged to bring their baseball glove, just in case a home run comes their way.
Secret Cinema have fast become top-class staples in immersive experiences, and 2019 has proved no different. Their latest venture has seen them bring the world of Hawkins, Indiana to life, taking a subtle step away from film screenings to a more all-encompassing environment. Visitors, donning suitable ’80s gear, get thrown into the midst of Stranger Things’ Independence Day celebrations, with an ominous upside-down twist. Remember, nothing is what is seems.
Taking to stately homes, castles and gardens across the UK, Enchanted has once again invites families to dive into a mesmerising world of light and colour. From talking trees to magical interactive displays, the experience ends with festive music, traditional fairground rides, and a mulled wine or two for the adults of the group. Continuing until the end of December 2019, it has proved an unmissable seasonal event.
Offering the final chance to see these Ancient Egyptian relics outside of their country of origin, the Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh exhibition has delighted visitors in Los Angeles and Paris, and is now doing so in London. The exhibition boasts over 150 authentic pieces from the tomb, a huge proportion of which have never been seen outside of Egypt. Hosted at London’s Saatchi Gallery, and booking until 3 May 2020, the exhibition has quickly become one of the most visited across the globe.
Discover more from the last twelve months at Ticketmaster.co.uk.