Saturday, 18 March 2017

Loreena Mckennitt - The London Palladium

First ever trip to the world famous London Palladium built in 1910 and someone i've been waiting a long time to see. Just walking into this magnificent theatre you can feel the culture oozing out of the walls. Inside the ghosts of those who have been before circle high above the stage and into the upper circle looking down approvingly. A perfect setting you might say for the delightful Loreena Mckennitt and her 'trio' companions 'Brian Hughes (Guitars,Bouzouki)and Caroline Lavelle (Cello, Recorder and Vocals).


  From our perch on Row A of the Royal Circle we had a perfect view of the stage. it’s very easy to see why Loreena McKennitt is a twice Grammy-nominated artist. Third night of this 26 date European tour that started in Glasgow and ends in Eindhoven. A stunning performance, utterly magical. I went through all the emotions and was moved and utterly enthralled (some songs I think I forgot to breathe). To say her voice is haunting is an understatement. Not everything went strictly according to plan however... There were hiccups in the show. A harp string broke, a 'D' string I believe and a very rare experience Loreena told us. You wouldn't have noticed though as she continued playing like a true professional. There was also a hint of embarrassment as the words to Greensleeves slipped her mind but the audience filled in the blanks. The set list took a shuffle as the harp got re-strung and yet the concert still flowed beautifully.While all this was going on there was a bit of fill in and a couple of jokes too
 McKennitt has made the study of the Celts her life’s work and has shared it with the world via both traditional ballads and her own original compositions. The emigration section was very powerful. With diary extracts from those at Grosse Isle in Quebec, tending to the Irish refugees, to Loreena’s own musings on her journey to discover the Celts. It was a history lesson, a musical journey and a spiritual experience. Whatever you say I know that I almost floated down the steps of the theatre emotionally and spiritually uplifted.

Set List (First Half) 
Samain Nights All Souls Night
Annachie Gordon
Penelopes Song
Morrisons Jig
The Wind that Shakes the Barley
Down by the Sally Gardens
The Emigration Tunes
The Lark in the Clear Air

(Second Half)
 On a Bright May Morning
 Stolen Child
 Bonny Portmore
The Bonny Swans
 The Lady of Shalott
The Old Ways
 Dante's Prayer

 Encore 1 
The Mummers' Dance

 Encore 2
 Full Circle

Friday, 17 March 2017

London - A few sights

Managed to get down to London early ahead of the Loreena Mckennitt concert  on what was a beautiful early Spring day. Perfect weather for having a wander and a few pints while the skies were blue and the sun was shining. Always like to visit Covent Garden to get my bearings and visit the Moomin store. As mentioned it was nice and warm so a thirst had been worked up so a perfect time to call into The Lamb and Flag on Rose street for a pint of London Pride.A  pub has been on the site since 1772and was a favourite watering hole of Charles Dickens amongst other literary greats.

Decided to catch the Tube down to Westminster and have a slightly closer look at the Houses of Parliament that we see so much of on the news just lately. The Houses of Parliament is the Palace of Westminster, the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords of the United Kingdom. They stand right on the North bank of the River Thames. Across the other side of the bridge are views of the London Eye. Couldn't resist taking a quick selfy in front of The Elizabeth Tower, often better known by the name of its main bell, Big Ben. Seemed to be a lot going on and as I approached its near neighbour Westminster Abbey I soon understood why. There was a big celebration being held there to mark Commonwealth Day. Her Majesty The Queen, the Head of the Commonwealth was joined by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry, The Duke of York and The Earl of Wessex. The Abbey bells were in full cry , you could hardly hear yourself think.It was at that point all the traffic was suddenly stopped and a Royal car went right past my nose. I took a picture and you can just about make out Camilla in the back if you expand it a bit. All the crowds were getting a bit much by now so I made my way off towards Trafalgar Square passing the famous bronze statue of Sir Winston Churchill in Parliament Square. The statue was installed on the north-east corner of the Square in 1973. Commissioned in 1971, it was sculpted by Ivor Roberts-Jones (1913-96). As you walk through Whitehall you can't fail to spot the entrance to one of the most famous streets in the world 'Downing Street'. All very heavily policed of course so no chance of a stroll up to the PM's place. Continuing the journey past Horseguards Parade where 'The Queen's Life Guards', mounted on immaculately groomed horses with breastplates shinning in the sun, present a stirring sight as they prevent unlawful entry of all carriages and cars through the Arch of Horse Guards.

Time for another pint just before Trafalgar Square in the Lord Moon of the Mall, and very well it went down too. Being a Wetherspoons it was much cheaper than the £4.50 paid previously (£3.40). By now it was nearly 4pm so after a quick walkr around Lord Nelson I made my way up to Oxford Circus in tome to meet Mrs A. Being a bit early I had to wait in the Argyll Arms which meant another London Pride. Upon her arrival we move on to The Cock in Gt Portland St a Samuel Smiths pub. Easily the best pint of the day in the shape of Sam Smiths Old Brewery Bitter. A cracking london pub with grand Victorian interior and a large bar upstairs and a full range of bottled beers.