Went to an Albert Lee concert last night at the West Cliff Theatre, Clacton. A strange name, as there are no cliffs anywhere in the region. For those of you unfamiliar with Mr. L, he is an English country guitarist with an astonishing melodic technique. Not only does he have a great band of his own, but he has played with some of the biggest names, both here and in America, including Eric Clapton and Emmylou Harris. The posters billed him as 'The World's Greatest Guitarist,' a piece of hyperbole with perhaps a grain of truth.
The theatre is a small neat venue, with rows labelled A-Z, each row having twelve seats either side of a central aisle. I took my place, about twenty minutes early and got chatting to a couple sitting behind me who were considerably older than myself. As the audience starting taking their seats, I was surprised to find that I was one of the younger ones there. The theatre was only about half full, so everyone started to gravitate towards the front, which made for a pleasantly intimate evening; a bit like watching a concert in your living room.
The great man and his band came on stage to enthusiastic applause and went straight into a number which, I must admit, really got the adrenaline going. Ah! The thrill of rock n roll, although there did seem to be something slightly amiss. After a couple of numbers he admitted that he had a bad cold and that his singing was going to be a bit husky.
He played for two hours with a short break in the middle, which allowed me to quaff a pint of Guinness in the bar. It must have been very difficult to put on a show of such quality as he obviously wasn't feeling that great. At the end, after a couple of encores, he approached the microphone: 'That's it for this evening, thanks for coming. If you want your CD's signed, we'll be in the lobby in five minutes.
A real trouper. Thanks Albert.
This morning, last night's performance was further put into perspective as my father went through the channels on TV. At one point, we came upon an oleaginous individual called André Rieu, playing cheesy violin to an ecstatic crowd of people in a huge concert hall. The men wore tails and black ties and the women seemed inexplicably to all be in wedding dresses.The star bashed out some horribly syrupy stuff, to which the crowd swayed in a state of rapture. Some really had tears in their eyes. The music itself made Barry Manilow look like a death-metal act. If it wasn't for the fact that everyone was so squeaky clean, you would have expected them to hold their lighters aloft at any second. It was like a Nuremberg Rally choreographed by Mills and Boon.
Who are these people, where do they come from? I just hope one never moves in next door. We don't want that sort of thing. Ours is a non-nice neighbourhood.