One of the best songs on Jake Shears’ debut solo album is Sad Song Backwards, on which the singer imagines that all the losses of your typical country ballad happen in reverse and you get everything back.
The 39-year-old seemed to be living his career in reverse, too, returning to the unpleasantly packed club venue where his band Scissor Sisters began a golden year with a gig in February 2004. That year their self-titled debut became the UK’s biggest-selling album. They ended up playing the Albert Hall and four nights at Brixton Academy.
The group have been quiet since 2012, with Shears’ former vocal foil Ana Matronic moving on to become a Radio 2 DJ. After a break-up with his boyfriend of 11 years and a wilderness period in New Orleans, Shears is busier than ever. Lately he has starred in Kinky Boots on Broadway, published a starkly honest autobiography entitled Boys Keep Swinging, and now come back with new music that doesn’t stray far from the disco, soft rock and honky tonk sounds of his past.
He’s no shyer, either, bringing Good Friends to a climax involving some Bucks Fizz-style sudden trouser removal and a saxophone solo. He began the show in white tails and matching top hat – the greatest showman before Hugh Jackman – stripped to black glittering pants and vest, and ended up in a Jane Austen dress, white gloves and a flowery bonnet, still sporting the Big Bushy Mustache he has now immortalised in song.
The sweaty funk rock of Clothes Off and S.O.B. (“Sex On the Brain”) continued a theme of growing old disgracefully. Over a decade on, he won’t really be expecting to replicate the platinum discs and vast ticket sales of his peak, but up close, he remains a huge amount of fun to be around.