Monday, 30 October 2006

Anderson & Wakeman

anderson & wakeman

manchester opera house 30th october 2006

I feel a little underdressed considering the surroundings, as this is an opera house, Manchester Opera House to be precise. A certain decorum must be observed, a reverence dictated by the oppulent facade. Here there are boards that have been tread, whats that I hear, he's behind you, oh shit. Pantomimes and dodgy musicals are on the bill, fortunately, not tonight. Prog maestro's Jon Anderson & Rick Wakeman age going to tease us with acoustic renditions os classic Yes, interspaced with new offerings written by just the two of them.

Mr Andersons has wifely support from Mrs Anderson sitting inthe balcony to the side of the stage, so at moments of mutual secrecy, he would gaze up to her, blowing kisses, waving of arms, and generaly saying hello.

Mr Wakeman has no support apart from his piano stool upon which he sits. Moments of verbal amusement eminate from his section of the stage. A swapping of tales from duo to audience give rise to titters and guffaws, depending upon severity of incident being recanted. Usually of Mr wakemans alcoholic past.

Mr A accopanies Mr W on acoustic guitar, and yes surprisingly it is plugged in ans amplified to a decent level. Reworkings of familiarity are interspersed with smatterings of new stuff, written especially the duo-ic concept. Mr W tinkles ivories like an ivory tinkler tinkleing Yes tunes, which of itself is self evident, for that is what we expect to hear.

Halfway through, just after the intermission Mr A takes up the stool and begins his own tinkleing, much to the amazement of the seated audience. Mr W enters the stage, places are traded, and Mr W gives us reditions of familiar nursery rhymes in the stylings of classical composers, and ends his solo spot with a highly subjective yet recognisable version of Eleanor Rigby. Before Mr A returns to his familiar spot, Mr W tells a few jokes and the evenings entertainment is allowed to continue.

As before is what is after, remarkable renditions of remarkable renditions, expert performances, considering how long they must have been playing some of these songs, to know them backwards is an understatement, but sometimes as Mr W was to quip,

"I didn't play on that one"

Sunday, 15 October 2006

Off The Wall - Blackburn KGH

off the wall

KGH blackburn 15th september 2006

My experiences with tribute bands have been mixed at best, for the whole idea leaves me feeling a little soiled, don't get me wrong, i have nothing against tribute bands, its just the fact that i just couldn't do it myself. That being said tonights tribute band attempt the emulate one of the greats, Pink Floyd.

Fortunately I have been informed that this band are up to the task, and have a light show to match. The venue is appropriately decked out, banked seating have been errected to provide an optimum viewing position.

Over the speakers it is announced that the performance will start in 5 minutes, of coures those needing a state of conciousness alteration pay no heed to what has just been said and stay in the bar. So when the first notes of Shine On You Crazy Diamond a frantic dash eminates from the bars and seats must be occupied.

Images of Syd Barret are projected on the circular screen at the rear of the stage, as without him, none of this could ever have existed. Along with a brief few images of Syd projected during Wish You Were Here, this is the only reference to this madcap genius. On previous occasions, the band had performed such classics as Arnold Layne and See Emily Play, but not tonight.

Classics are played and enjoyed, Welcome To The Machine and Have A Cigar, to Sheep and Learning To Fly, with most of Dark Side Of The Moon thrown in for good measure, even a track from Division Bell is let loose on a most appreciative audience. As this is going to be a long set, it has to be split into 2, this gives us time to replenish those parts that need it,

The intermission allows the audience to aquaint itself with itself and to see what cross section has ventured out tonight.From the middle aged die-hards to teen metal heads, all are here, even some pree teens, maybe it was cheaper to buy a ticket for their children than to get a babysitter for the evening, but it looked like they were enjoying the single occular device given to us. Its at events like these that brings out aquaintances that you only see at events like these, its always good to catch up like this. So on with the show.

Of course those in need of an altered state of conciousness slowly amble their way back to seats during the first song, but hey ho.

The second half, that being the one that follows the first is as stupendous as the first, sublime renditions of Floyd classics whip up the crowd, maybe substances have some bearing of the participation of audience based whooping. A couple of frommage based food product hand clapping incidents have the required cringe factor, but are soon forgotten when Off The Wall begin The Great Gig In The Sky.

Never before have so many open mouths been seen in King George Hall, the female guitarist has a voice, I really mean a voice. I personally have only heard this vocal sung as well once before, and that is the original. A collective raising of the hairs on the back of the neck with shivers down the spine marks the Van Der Graff Generator moment, and the crowd reciprocate with raptuous applause.

Throughout both sets projections illuminate and educate, visuals of both digital and actual beings flicker upon the circular screen. George Bush and Robert Mugabe are the idiots on the grass, Hitler makes a brief appearance, along with the Wizard Of Oz, all of which raises a smile, a nod and a wink. Quite some considerable time and effort have been spent producing such a superlative performance, but all things have an end, and this is it.

All the musicians have been given time the the proverbial light that spots, showing that time and effort pays off dividends, and being a Pink Floyd tribute band is a proud badge to wear. The show ends with a huge projection of a glittering disco ball, rotating to the last notes from Comfortably Numb, silouetted against this the saxaphone player tootles like a Lisa Simpson possessed, its time to go now, thank you and goodnight.