Saturday 23 August 2008

Entertainment - And Lots Of It!

In my quest for entertainment I recently attended various shows and events. Here's a few thoughts and comments...

Manchester Evening News Stadium

It’s not every day one gets the chance to see one of the greatest guitar players in the world. Seeing two on consecutive weekends is an even rarer opportunity.

There’s an element of confusion as regards the name ‘Santana’. Carlos Santana is undoubtedly the titular attraction, but Santana is also the name of the band.

The MEN Stadium is easy to find and is a very impressive venue. There’s plenty of refreshment kiosks within easy reach of the arena and an abundance of toilets too. These facilities should not be taken lightly and in this respect at least the venue proved superior to Sheffield’s Don Valley Stadium. The toilet situation when we went to see The Rolling Stones two years ago was adequate at best.

Beverley Knight provided great support and joined the band for several numbers.

The show was stunning, both musically and visually. There’s a strong spiritual message in Santana’s music and it came through very strongly here.

I’m by no means an expert on Santana’s back catalogue, but the set-list may be of interest to readers:

Life Is For Living
Incident At Neshabur
Batuka/ No One To Depend On
Capri/ Maria Maria
Foo Foo
Corazan Espinado
Happy/ Right On Be Free
Lord's Prayer/Sun Ra
Open Invitation/ Drum Solo
BMW/ Gypsy Queen
Oye Como Va
Spartacus/ Smooth/Dame

...and for the encore:

Woodstock Chant/Soul Sacrifice

Angel Chant/Into The Night

Eric Clapton
Harewood House, Leeds
Sunday 29th June

One week later, it was on to Harewood House to see another great act. Open air concerts don’t appeal as much to me as others. The crowds are chaotic and in a constant state of flux, there’s no escape from smokers and it carries a very great threat of being caught out in terrible weather. Indeed, the torrential rain just stopped a few hours before the concert was due to start and luckily stayed away for the rest of the evening.

Robert Randolph & The Family Band began the musicl proceedings, then it was on the main event.

The quality of the concert is unquestionable. Eric Clapton himself was on terrific form as were his band. They played an excellent selection from his extensive career. There was no room for the (apparently retired) classics ‘Tears in Heaven’ and ‘My Father’s Eyes’ but the set-list was still very impressive:

Tell The Truth
Key To The Highway
Hoochie Coochie Man
Isn't It A Pity
Outside Woman Blues
Here But I'm Gone
Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad
Rockin' Chair
Motherless Child
Travellin' Riverside Blues
Running On Faith
Motherless Children
Little Queen of Spades
Before You Accuse Me
Wonderful Tonight


I've Got My Mojo Working (with Robert Randolph)

It's a massive field at Harewood House. The stage can just be seen in the distance.

Probably the last clear view of the stage - about three hours before the main show.

It wasn't possible to get a clear camera view of Eric Clapton on the stage but that's him on the huge screen!

Two Days in London

One of the many good things about London is the massive choice of transport options. We travelled by car, train, tube, Thames Clipper, taxi and foot during two very busy days.

The Doctor Who Exhibition at Earl’s Court was our first destination. The last time I visited Earl’s Court was to see Pink Floyd back in 1994.

Apart from a brief mention of the first eight Doctors at the very start, the exhibition focussed exclusively on the world of Doctor Who since its revival in 2005. The amount of props, costumes and displays was quite staggering. The staff were very friendly and photographs were allowed.

Here’s a small selection of the many we took (more may follow later):

The 10th Doctor welcomes everyone to the exhibition - but warns of dangers ahead.

I'm sure I've played this guy at chess a few times

A girl of dubious habits.

A demonstration of the perils of modern diets.

Nobody likes a big head, but he's got no-body as a friend.

I should have taken the gas mask to King Tut; I could have asked: 'Are you my mummy?'

Don't ask.

Ood'ya think this is?

The emporer revealed!

Err...don't get up.

Big enough for the worldwide web

I didn't dare direct him to the blocked sink.


There he goes, as regular as clockwork.

This poor Sontaran looks like he needs to take a...little break.

Whatever... do...



Here's some famous views from the Thames Clipper....

Canary Wharf. The Daleks and Cybermen were there once, you know.

Traitors' Gate

Approaching The London Eye

The King Tutankhamun Exhibition was at the 02 Arena (formerly the Millennium Dome). The journey to the Arena was made via the Thames Clipper, sailing the Thames from the pier at the London Eye. This made for an excellent journey, enabling us to see many famous landmark buildings. Cheap and frequent, the Clippers are highly recommended.

It’s the first time I’ve been to the 02 Arena. Back when it was first built, a section of the British public was typically quick to label the whole thing as a white elephant. In fact it’s an amazing place with every chance of standing the test of time.

Entering the dome is just like stepping into a new town. In addition to the exhibition, there’s an enormous cinema, a large selection of coffee shops and eateries, various other intriguing features and of course the main arena itself, with an extremely impressive list of forthcoming shows.
The Tutankhamun Exhibition was an amazing experience and a very well-attended event, despite being open for some time. It’s quite humbling to be in the presence of such extraordinary artefacts and history from so long ago. Their achievements, society and culture look like things from another planet, far in advance of ours.

There was just time for a trip to a couple of shops - Foyles bookshop in particular - before settling down for some pre-theatre food. Then it was off to the Aldwych Theatre for Dirty Dancing.

I’ve never seen the film so I had little idea of what to expect. It was quite an experience. The set changes were so slick and effective, converting a bar to a holiday camp to a golf course and back with astonishing ease and rapidity.

I won’t go into detail about the plot as I wouldn’t want to spoil anyone’s enjoyment, but suffice to say there’s a love story featuring an unlikely couple, a lot of top-class dancing and a whole host of impressive performances.

A whistle-stop tour of various other notable London attractions completed a busy and enjoyable couple of days. An ice cream and a cup of tea in Hyde Park - on the hottest day of the year! - was a particularly English highlight.

Then it was time to return to Teesside, but not for too long, before setting off another long journey...


Anonymous said...

That's quite a set of events!!

Excellent pictures of London. I have yet to go inside the Dome, maybe on my next trip to London...

The Blink statues are never going to stop being scary!!

Sean Marsh said...

Glad you liked it all, girlorchid.

I took lots of other pictures and will probably post some more when there's a quiet news week here at Marsh Towers.