Kylie Minogue: Edinburgh Castle

Last night I went to see Kylie. Yep….Kylie Minogue. At Edinburgh Castle! It was amazing. She was brilliant. Edinburgh is great. It’s starting to feel like Festival time in Edinburgh. All of these things are what makes our city special.

Fifteen years ago I would never have written the words “I went to a Kylie concert”. I have now though and it was bloody awesome. Fifteen (or so) years ago my taste on music was much less eclectic (and personally I thought it was much cooler). However, in an attempt at not kidding anyone I should now admit that I did watch ‘Neighbours’ (Aussy soap). Right from the start. That was more than fifteen years ago – I know this because I was still in primary school (so probably around 30 years agghhh!).

Even though I watched neighbours I definitely wasn’t into ‘pop’. Getting older means, however, that the kind of labelling you need to do in your teens and twenties becomes less important. So when the tickets came up last year of course I wanted to go. Kylie is literally a pop princess and sometimes it’s only after the fact that you start to appreciate what someone has done in their career. She is also teeny and, whilst Australian of course, Kylie is still something of a national treasure to the UK.

The night, the venue

At this time of year when the days are long and sunset is still around 10.50pm Edinburgh is gearing up for the festival. If we get the weather (and we did), the evenings are balmy and the atmosphere around the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle and the Mound is fantastic.

Heading to the top of the Royal Mile

Kylie was on at 9pm after an opener from Nina Nesbitt (local singer). Her set list included all the greats like: ‘I Should Be So Lucky’, ‘Never Too Late’, ‘Hand On Your Heart’, ‘Confide In Me’, ‘Especially For You’, ‘All The Lovers’ and ‘Spinning Around’.

The Castle itself looked amazing. The fire torches were lit above the cannons peeking through the cannon holes. The stadium set up is put up every year for the Tattoo during the Edinburgh Festival; for concerts the stage is set just in front of the castle gates at the top of the Esplanade. There is something special about concerts at Edinburgh Castle that you don’t get at the big sporting grounds. It is the Castle though so of course this is the case!

The sun shone until twilight at around 10pm and even then it wasn’t dark but the lights of the stage and lighting shone accross the crowd. A sold out show (she put on another one tonight because it sold out so quickly) meant that the atmosphere was absolutely buzzing with people who just wanted to have a lot of fun.

The artist

I think that is what Kylie probably represents to me. A fun performer who has stood the test of time to become an artist that you don’t want to miss. I have been to see lots of great bands and musicians. From Prince (a lot of times including his last tour) to the Pogues. We might all disagree on who is good or not but I am glad I added Kylie to the list. I, this surprised me, knew all the words to all the songs bar one. This is particularly odd given I have re-checked my old CDs, Apple music and even my playlists on Prime Music. I don’t have any Kylie on there. I think I will add some. This was a concert where I danced like I was in my living room (I even did dance actions to ‘Hand on My Heart’). I wasn’t embarrased. No one in there was. We all loved Kylie and she was great. The tiny wee 51 year old looks amazing. Please the gods of ageing can I acheive even a fraction of that by the time I get to my fifties.

The walk home

Edinburgh Castle, Cannons and The Cannonball

My sister didn’t want to do the lunch booking (she usually does). So since I have had a week off work, and this was planned in with my sis and mum, I took on the job of picking the place. I very nearly chose Noks Kitchen which is a firm favourite and a short walk along the road to Stockbridge. But….living in Edinburgh (and growing up here) is a gift. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world (my next favourite is Rome), so I decided on a recommendation in the heart of the city and right next to the castle.

The Cannonball

I had never been before but took an article at its word for this being a great place for food. They were right. The setting is magnificent. Right next door to the esplanade of the Castle this building started off as a Duke’s who was ‘Keeper of the Castle’. From then to now it was an old Edinburgh tenement, to burnt out shell to School House to building used for a variety of things before the Contini’s took it on and made a great restaurant and Bar.

The nicely priced lunch set menu was probably underpriced. I started off with haggis balls and then a steak sandwich. Missing out on the desert was a mistake. My sister’s chocolate mousse looked like something from Masterchef. From her ooh’s and ahhhh’s it clearly was delicious. All in all this was a win. When you live in Edinburgh you rarely get that close to the castle as we tend to favour certain areas and restaurants. Edinburgh is a collection of villages which were joined together by the New Town and once in a while we should all go back to the heart of the city (avoiding the many tourists) to bask in its beauty. The Cannonball gives you this. It is right next to the castle and the restaurant has lovely views over the castle. It is that sort of place where you touch the walls in the knowledge that there is history and we should connect to it. It was also really good food and Ill definitely be back.

So…over a glass of good Malbec the suggestion was made to visit the Castle. Why would we not. I had heels on (boots thankfully so comfy enough) and we were a bottle down but…It was right there! Too tempting.

The Cannons

Its not the cheapest but it is bloody beautiful. Walk through, pay, and the first thing you come to are the cannons lining the walls. The One o Clock gun is a bit new age (they old things obviously only throw out real cannonballs rather than just the noice) but there are plenty of the old yins. Never stop at these though. Mons Meg is up the way and this cannon is something to behold with a history even England would be jealous of.

Mons Meg: built in 1449

The Castle

Edinburgh castle is stunning and I am always in awe of it. The view from Princess Street is good enough but a walk around it reminds me of the romantic nature of us Scottish folk. The surprising thing is how little it can feel even in its statuesque position on the hill overlooking the gardens (when built it was a loch and the New Town didn’t exist). The great hall is magnificent, the Stone of Destiny touches most hearts and the tiny chapel is simple yet ornate.

The Great Hall

My tips. Try the whisky. Don’t wear heels. Head down to Deacon Brodie’s for a pint afterwards. But also just bask in it. Kings, Queens, intrigue, deception and many a story have come from that castle. We are lucky to have it. We will always have it. In some ways I feel I should visit more but it is always there, overlooking Edinburgh. I go enough for an ‘Edinburgher’. I’ll definitely be eating next to it more.