20 December 2014
Kimono My Orchestral House by Sparks
Then they announced a second date and things got a lot better.
A week after the first attempt I was back in front of my PC eager to get tickets and this time there was less of a rush. I suspect that the touts had piled in on the first night hoping it was a once off and were reluctant to dive in on a date that they could not be sure would sell out. Whatever the reason the queue was easier and I was able to get a seat in the stalls, F36, for a miserly £30.
Row F is the back row of the front block of stalls that form a truncated triangle before a corridor then the first row that goes right across the theatre. To put it simply, it was a bloody good seat. And it was made even better when the person in front of me failed to turn up so I did not have a head to look around.
It was certainly a far better seat than the one Bryan Ferry had two rows behind me.
The show was almost exactly the same as the night before, and I was perfectly happy with that. Ron and Russell took up their stations at either side of the stage with the full orchestra behind them. I had a brilliant view of Ron all the time and could see Russell bouncing behind his music stand.
The music was clearer than it had been in the Balcony (there's a reason why Stalls seats are more expensive) and that had been quite good enough. On the second night I could hear the piano better and being closer made physical spread of the sound more distinctive.
The mountain does not go to Mohammed and Ron does not go to Russell so when there was a duet it was Russell who moved and that meant him coming across to my side of the stage. That allowed me to take a few photos like this one.
As always, taking photos was a balancing act between trying to capture a few key memories of the evening and not being distracted in the act of taking them to miss the music. I took about twenty altogether in just under two hours which seemed about right to me though around me people took between zero and a quadrillion pictures. Each to their own.
One slight change from the first night was the Ron Dance. On the Friday Ron had loosened his tie and stepped willingly in to the dance but on the Saturday he was far more reluctant and sat on the edge of the stage for a while as the orchestra maintained a holding pattern. But Ron was not going to let his greatest fans down and we got the arm and leg swinging performance that we were cheering for.
Ron was 69 and should either have known better or have retired a while ago. I am glad that he did neither.
Sparks got a thunderous reception at the end and I was standing up and whooping with everybody else (well, almost everybody, Bryan Ferry remained seated). Russell and Ron gave their thanks back and reminded us that their career owed a lot to England; quirky music is more our thing than America's.
They also mentioned a new album and I can only hope that they will be back in London before too long for some more concerts to promote it. They took a big gamble in bringing their show for two nights at the 1,943 seater Barbican Hall and it paid off with two sold out concerts. There is a big fan base here and we would like to see more of them.
Orchestral Kimono My House was a truly brilliant concert in every aspect (did I mention the lighting?) and was not diminished in the least by having seen it the previous evening.