Drag has impacted on my life in a way I would have never expected; this year alone I have attended five shows featuring many different queens, many being RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni. After finding out that the promoter Holy Trannity was bringing a Halloween tour called Heels of Hell to Glasgow, I knew I had to go and after seeing the lineup of queens, I booked a ticket instantly. Seeing Sharon Needles, Jinkx Monsoon, Trixie Mattel, Courtney Act, Willam, and Alaska Thunderfuck together in a single evening seemed like a dream come true.
I queued for an hour in the rain and met a mother and daughter stood behind who were attending their first ever drag show; the young girl must be only ten or eleven years old, we spoke about the show, our favourite queens, and the girl’s mother mentioned that it was nice for her to have someone talk about drag to her as none of her friends knew that she was a fan. We chatted until the queue was moved, we said goodbye and I wished that they enjoy the show. I was already excited for the show but interacting with other fans tends to be up there with the best parts of the whole experience whether it’s a drag show or a concert. As the doors opened and I entered the floor of the O2 Academy, I clocked the dark stage with gravestones and immediately knew the production of the show was going to be unlike any other.
The show opened with some group musical numbers including Thriller and Ghostbusters choreography, perfect to set the mood for the Halloween themed evening and we were introduced to the hosts, Divina De Campo and Victoria Secret who did an amazing job of hyping the audience throughout the show.
The AAA Girls consisting of Alaska Thunderfuck, Courtney Act, and Willam opened the Rupaul alumni section of the evening with the first single off of their debut album, Access All Areas. Dressed as iconic childhood cartoon characters Alvin and the Chipmunks they moved swiftly onto a girl group medley, including Spice Girls and Little Mix. Throughout the show, the girls appeared individually to perform their own music or a Halloween themed song; Alaska appeared onstage dressed as Peter Pan and sang a rendition of ‘I Believe I Can Fly’, Courtney channelled her inner Derrick Barry in the form of a Britney Spears number, and Willam whizzed around the stage in her hover-board, almost falling a handful of times and the crowd soaked it up.
Next up was season five winner, Jinkx Monsoon clad in a stunning flowing blue gown, performed a lip sync to the infamous Name Game song from the television show American Horror Story, followed by ‘Life on Mars’ by the late David Bowie, introduced by a informal chat about the state of the world in 2017 and their own personal feelings about the recently elected President of the United States. After a costume change, they appeared again to cover ‘Leather’ by Tori Amos and debut new song, ‘Cartoons and Vodka’ from their upcoming album, their infectious energy being mirrored by the audience.
From Jinkx we were passed to not only one of my favorite queens but one of my favorite human beings on the planet, the newly announced star of the third season of RuPaul’s Drag Race: All-Stars, Trixie Mattel. She emerged in a black jumpsuit, not pink like the life-sized Barbie doll is so well known for wearing constantly, with her guitar in hand. Trixie performed a medley of songs from the Rocky Horror Show, including ‘Dammit Janet’ and the cult classic ‘Time Warp’. Trixie’s warm energy was received so well from the two thousand people in attendance and even managed to get people dancing along!
Lastly, the queen of Halloween and Drag Race season four winner, Sharon Needles emerged from a coffin branded with her initials, microphone in hand to make her mark on the evening, performing a handful of her original songs including ‘Black Liquorice’, ‘Supernature’, and ‘Call Me on the Ouija Board’ featuring Trixie on guitar. Needles proclaims herself as a “button-pusher, since featuring on national television, this has become evidently more and more true. Her punk aesthetic and attitude is what she is best known for and has built her career out of being provocative; this has been an advantage and a disadvantage for her, providing her with a multitude of dedicated fans and harsh critics. Needles spoke to the crowd about the LGBTQ+ community’s trials and tribulations as of lately, displaying an obvious disgust for Donald Trump.
In all, Heels of Hell is up there with some of the best shows I have ever seen, it was such a treat to witness these queens together and I would love this tour to come back again next year! Thank you to the Holy Trannity team, dancers, and all the queens for putting on an amazing show!
Glasgow Contributor Jen (Twitter: jenxmcanally )