Susan Boyle’s Successful World Tour Stopped at DPAC in the Bull City on Wednesday, Oct. 29th


Susan Boyle’s iconic performance on the entertainment competition “Britain’s Got Talent” is memorable in many ways, and she does not deny that her appearance shocked host Simon Cowell. In fact, she embraces it. That Cinderella moment, when she announced she wanted to be a professional singer to a disbelieving Cowell, was what opened her show last Wednesday night at the DPAC, which was part of her world tour.

With tongue in cheek, she appears at the top of a set of stairs, clad in a pink gown that makes her appear somewhat angelic. In silhouette, she mimes the moment when she told Cowell she was 47 years old -– “… and that’s just one side of me.” At 53, she has attained the dream she announced on the evening she sang “I Dreamed a Dream” and paved her way into the hearts of what has now become legions of fans.

Susan Boyle in Concert, which played the Durham Performing Arts Center on Oct. 29th, is a production befitting an international songstress, complete with wardrobe changes and three backup singers. Boyle appears packaged and professional, though there are moments when one can still sense the awkward Scottish choir singer who often battles anxiety.

She rarely moves on stage, and the comments she makes appear to be scripted and timed, well-rehearsed but not comfortable for her. She is most relaxed when she opens her heart through her music, soaring through familiar standards, such as her opening number “Out Here on my Own” and her gorgeous interpretation of the Rolling Stones’ hit, “Wild Horses.”

During the first half of the show, Susan Boyle’s mezzo soprano smoothly delivered “Cry Me a River” and “Over the Rainbow” as she sat next to the piano, nodding her head companionably toward Kennedy Atchison, her pianist. Her control and range enables her to move from ballads to blues, and each song is imbued with a grace and passion that reaches out over the floodlights.

The two-hour show offered the DPAC fans an opportunity to hear their favorites, and it was obvious by the deafening applause and shouts of “We love you, Susan,” that “You Raise Me Up” and “I Dreamed a Dream” were songs they had come to hear. She covers music sung by pop icons such as Sarah McLachlan, as well as Broadway showstoppers such as Elaine Paige. The difference between Boyle and other singers, however, is that she simply covers what others have done. Nowhere in her performance was there a song that was strictly her own, her hit single, her signature.

With more than 22 million albums sold and experiences such as singing for a sitting Pope and the Queen of England under her belt, Susan Boyle has definitely achieved her dream, and many more thousands of her adoring fans will be able to share this dream as she continues moving through her successful world tour.

SUSAN BOYLE IN CONCERT (Durham Performing Arts Center, Oct. 29 at DPAC, in the American Tobacco District).






Susan Magdalane Boyle (53-year-old Scottish mezzo-soprano and “Britain’s Got Talent” contestant): (official website), (Facebook page), (Twitter page), and (Wikipedia).


Dawn Reno Langley is a Durham, NC-based author who writes novels, poetry, children’s books, and nonfiction books on many subjects, as well as theater reviews. She is also Dean of General Education and Developmental Studies at Piedmont Community College in Roxboro, where she oversees the theater program at the Kirby Cultural Arts Complex, and a member of the Person County Arts Council. To read all of Dawn Langley’s Triangle Review reviews online at Triangle Arts and Entertainment, click To read more of her writings, click


Dawn Reno Langley is a Roxboro, NC-based author who writes novels, poetry, children’s books, and nonfiction books on many subjects, as well as theater reviews. She is also Dean of General Education and Developmental Studies at Piedmont Community College in Roxboro, where she oversees the theater program at the Kirby Cultural Arts Complex, and is a member of the Person County Arts Council. Her website is


  1. Who I was Born to Be- sung just before I Dreamed a Dream at the end of the concert is “her” original song, written just for her and on her first album. She had a couple more original songs on her third album-Someone to Watch Over Me, but those were not in this concert.. They are all just overlooked by critics and reviewers. Susan never wanted to be a song-writer-just a singer. There may be more original songs in the future. Right now she is very busy with recording, touring and charitable activities at home.

  2. Just pointing out that Who I Was Born To Be was written specifically for Susan.

    “The lyrics were written by singer/songwriter Audra Mae, grandniece of Judy Garland.[2] In an interview with MTV Audra Mae stated, “I knew it needed to be a song that made sense for her to sing, so I went online and researched her and her life and found out how she got to be where she is, and it came from that”. “I knew it needed to be something that she could be proud to sing,” Mae explained. “Almost like a mantra — and I’m thrilled that she liked it enough to put it on the album.” The music to “Who I Was Born to Be” was composed by Johan Fransson, Tim Larsson, and Tobias Lundgren.” Wikipedia.

  3. Just a correction of a frequently-made error–She does sing one song which is an original–“Who I Was Born to Be” which was written specifically for her. It is the next to the last one in the program.

  4. I dislike the negative comments about her personality. Her personality is part of her brand, her trademark, and her appeal. Her fans love her because of who she is, not in spite of who she is. Her unique Scottish humor is delightful. It’s silly to criticize the personality of such a fabulous singer. It’s beside the point. Another notable part of her brand is to sing both secular and religious songs in the same set or cd. It’s uplifting and joyful to see someone who does not separate the spiritual aspects of life from the mundane.

  5. When the judges were talking and reacting, it was scripted, I am sure they had already seen her or been told what to say. She keeps repeating that scripted performance again and again like her scripted act at her concerts. Her two songs that were written for her were never hits. No one is going to write a song for her that aren’t going anywhere. A friend auditioned for this show. The process for it was something like:

    1) Apply
    2) Audition for TV execs
    3) Audition for TV execs again
    4) Go on stage (no audience) and be filmed

    Cowell picks the worst who he thinks he can make the most money from. He’s a con man.

  6. Thanks for the remarks about the review. What I meant by my comment about her original music was that she didn’t have an original song as her “trademark.” When people generally think of Boyle, they remember “I Dreamed a Dream” or “Wild Horses.” Though she’s had some music written for her, it has not become her trademark song — she has not had a hit of “her own.” Hopefully, that clarifies it.

    As for her personality, I personally find her awkwardness refreshing, but the fact is that she doesn’t utilize the stage. She stands still, and on a stage as big as DPAC’s, it’s quite noticeable. I would love to see her as raw and unscripted as she was the first time she took a stage rather than as packaged as she has been on tour. I think seeing Susan Boyle be Susan Boyle rather than the done-over version her producers/packagers have given us would be a lot more enjoyable.

    Again, thanks for the comments everyone.

  7. “Who I was born to be” is her trademark song and “I dreamed a dream “is her signature song. They are usually sung together as they are in this concert. Her other original songs were “This will be the year”, written for her by Emile Sandi, and “Return”, written by Steve Mac and Wayne Hector. Mac produced her 1st 3 albums. I sometimes think that reviewers and critics never listen to her albums. If they did they would know these songs. Her fans, who mostly buy albums instead of downloading one song, know these songs. My reaction , when I hear some singer sing a song I like, is, I wish Susan would record that. She has a certain quality to her voice that is very unique and puts her stamp on everything she sings. I have seen this concert 4 times in the US ( 8 times in the UK ) and She is moving and dancing here more and seems much more relaxed here. I thought the show moved along seamlessly. If she sometimes seems awkward, it is because people with Aspersers Syndrome , are often unbalanced in their movement. But she is moving much more freely these concerts. All in all, it was a fabulous show all round. Can’t wait to see it again in Jacksonville.

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