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Somewhat disappointed.

old git

Tremendous Bore
The Marquis de Sade wrote "Justine", which I admit to trying to read in my youth. It was subtitled "Good Intentions Well Chastised." which seems an appropriate crit of last night's concert.

Back in the 80s, Bernice, the then lady in my life attended a One Thousand Voice performance of "Messiah" at the Albert Hall. We'd both sang it in amateur choirs and she was also an accomplished pianist, no jazz though, which accounts for the "then" part of the relationship. Anyone who has seen or heard recreations of the original Dublin performance will appreciate that more is not better.

Having two Military Middle of the Road wind bands on stage at the same time is an overkill, illustrated by the Camille Saint-Saens Organ Concerto where the combination of the instruments and poor sound reinforcement meant one could not hear the organ. The Fairfield's pipe organ is fairly small and certainly not an ass-kicker but surely the purpose of a concerto is to hear the featured instrument? It did a quite good impression of a Hammond B3 during "A Whiter Shade of Pale", suggesting that the cure might be that Military Directors of Music should only be allowed to lead bands in the open air or should be made to sit in the auditorium for sound balance checks.

Readily admit that each of the musicians have more talent in their little fingers than my total body score but it was over the top.

Griff blew his heart out and it would have been nice to pat him on the head and compliment him at the end but we couldn't find him. It must be a different military band mindset, he seemed to have been assigned the om-pah role for his baritone whilst we saxophone enthusiasts know the baritone to be a fine solo and expressive instrument. And that makes me feel guilty for being so critical but then it was not designed for our ears and could the CASLM have done any better? No need for an answer.

There is a concert in October at Southwark Cathedral which I will happily buy a ticket for. If the British Legion Central Band is performing by itself I shall attend and pay respects to the old school's founder but if they are augmented, then that and the Southwark reverberations are a good reason to stay outside.

A lighter note:-Suddenly a rock guitar god appeared on the extreme right of the stage, really cutting loose, complete with suitable rock god gesturing. Having done his solo, went back into the 'background brass' section. Surely the most bizarre doubling ever?

And now the really important announcement, Griff is now the Croydon and Sarf Lundun Massive's Ambassador to Devon.

Well done Griff, let's blame the two directors.

Young Col

Well-Known Member
Coulsdon, London/Surrey
Yes a very strange evening. Bunch of very talented musicians but drowned in their own bigness and poor sound balance. When I say a bunch, it was big, even for Fairfield Hall. 13 trumpets, 8 trombones (or may have been 76), five tubas, umpteen clarinets and about six saxes with Griff the only bari, plus rhythm and full percussion.

Putting so many in a concert hall meant the crisp section work I was expecting didn't come over.The organ could hardly be heard in the Saint Saens, nor the corps of drums in the quiet passages. Perhaps there just wasn't enough headroom in the sound system with the band at full chat. Against that though the rock guitar god (in uniform) on "rocky" was clearly above the band and so was what turned out to be a beautiful "lady in red" solo by a female alto sax player. This got better in the higher register in the second chorus (why is it that an upward key or octave change always gets a crowd going?) because her tone was pretty oily sounding in the lower octave first chorus (but then so was the other lady sax player's short solo on another number - sound system again? They surely weren't both supposed to sound exactly like that). And there were some good arrangements and some solo spots plus a good xylophone duet.

Not normally my kind of music but I'll give anything a try, especially by top rate performers and it was for charity. Pity the sound check hadn't been done properly by the Director (who's verbal delivery was also too fast for some of the older audience and the comment "we do love our trad don't we?" after Tiger Rag with a front line of about 10 and two snare drummers pretending to play on each other's head would have had Jelly Roll Morton spinning in his grave).

Finally just to set the record straight, I didn't think we were too noisy in the bar beforehand (we being OG, me and the CaSLM WAGS, official moll Pauline not being present); it's just that there weren't that many others in the upstairs lounge. And what I and others may have thought was OG doing a line of coke in the interval was actually him trying to open a tub of ice cream. I couldn't help much as I didn't want to get my beer sticky fingers in his ice cream and I was holding his Zimmer anyway. I think he really just wanted an excuse to go back and chat up the stunning asian girl who sold it to him. It is true that he tried to roll down the stairs at the end and it did make me think that there was something in the ice cream after all. However we tried to make amends by putting loads of dosh in the British Legion collecting buckets, so I can only think that the murmered "Don't let them in again" as we left, was meant for some other bunch of elderly rowdies.


old git

Tremendous Bore
Received a reply email from Griff and it will only be the British Legion Central Band in Southwark Cathedral in October, so there will be dynamics. Despite being a pacifist, any support for the lads need support, so I'll be there and we will get Griff to let us know how to obtain tickets. Londoners and Home Countiers, be there or be on the Croydon ans Sarf Lundun Massives hit list, so reserve October 24th, I think it is, in your diary NOW.

Pete, Griff and Stephen, we want reports about your Frankfurt Messe adventures including details of how you prised the semiprecious stones out of all the Cannonball necks and what impressed you. Now, after a further thought, adds Pretty Please.


Well-Known Member
........including details of how you prised the semiprecious stones out of all the Cannonball necks....

I think you over-rate them. They are alleged to be "Jasper" (so should they be carrot-coloured?) but actually look like off-cuts from a B&Q granite worktop. Of course, with the effect they have on tonal quality, they could be diamonds.....;}

Nice description of the concert. It brought back memories of school orchestra days when every year, all the "grammar" schools in Warwickshire would take over Birmingham Town Hall for a massed concert where players out-numbered audience about 2 to 1. French horns were particularly popular I recall, and we weedy flute players stood no chance at all, despite there being about a dozen of us. The organ though could quite easily blow us all away - fearsome ruddy thing. Happy days......

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