Saturday, 22 April 2017
Bank Holiday Monday and a little trip out to the picturesque City of Ely in Cambridgeshire. The landscape is completely dominated by 'The Ship of the Fens'The Anglican Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity or 'Ely Cathedral' .The cathedral has its origins in AD 672 when St Etheldreda built an abbey church. The present building dates back to 1083, and cathedral status was granted it in 1109. Built in a monumental Romanesque style architecturally it is outstanding both for its scale and stylistic details. Its most famous feature however is the central octagonal tower, with lantern above, which provides a spectacular internal space and, along with the West Tower, gives a unique exterior landmark.
The Chapel is 100 feet (30 m) long and 46 feet (14 m) wide, and was built in an exuberant 'Decorated' Gothic style. You can't help but be impressed by the sheer vastness once inside and it does feel like being on a ship. I always enjoy a good stained glass window as well as savouring a feeling of spirituality that you don't get anywhere else. Leaving the Cathedral we headed down towards the river where we were treated to some live operatic music from one of the narrow boats. It is the River Great Ouse that flows through the southeastern boundary of the city. The riverside and Jubilee Gardens host a variety of events throughout the year from the annual Eel Day which includes the World Eel Throwing Competition ....Anguila Anguila is the scientific name of the remarkable fish that is best known by the name that gave Ely its name – The Eel. The type of eels that live in the river in and around Ely are European Eels and they have a fascinating life cycle which is spent partly in the ocean and partly in freshwater rivers like Ely’s Great Ouse.
Sunday, 9 April 2017
Another different venue in Wolverhampton, this time in the shape of 'The Slade Rooms'. Named of course after the 70's Glam Rock band featuring Noddy Holder. The venue holds 550 according to its website and hosting an eclectic program. Headlining tonight are old favourites from Finland 'Sonata Arctica', supported by fellow Finns 'Thunderstone' and first up from Canada 'Striker'.
We were quite lucky to even see Striker as a few days earlier in Belfast they were unable to perform due to their singer losing his voice! Even tonight he struggled and was helped out by the rest of the band. I think a few in the crowd had turned up just to see the next band 'Thunderstone'. They were impressive enough and very much in the mold of 'Avantasia'. Another example of a very good Finnish power metal band. Must admit to be feeling excited at seeing Sonata Arctica again , a band I have a lot of time for . I did have a cheeky glimpse at previous set lists on the tour so had a good idea of what to expect. I suppose if you are promoting a new album (The Ninth Hour) it is bound to be top heavy with songs from it.The truth being we just want to hear the classic tracks we know so well. While their music is seriously technical, there was a light atmosphere throughout the small venue the use of a light up mic stand for Toni Kakko and keyboardist Henrik Klingenberg use of a keytar helped add some fun features to the performance. A superb night , the highlight being 'Full Moon' from Sonata Arctica oh and not forgetting we also had a marriage proposal from a fan on the front row to his future wife. Beautifully handled by Toni and i'm pleased to say the young lady did say yes. iT would have been great to hear some favourites such as ; 'Replica', 'The Cage' 'Kingdom for a Heart', 'San Sebastian', 'Victoria's Secret' , 'Flag in the Ground, or even 'Las drop falls' but it wasn't to be.