Canary Wharf’s summer concerts are always good fun. A holiday atmosphere descends on Canada Square as the grass vanishes under the weight of picnic blankets. The entertainment is generally first rate and as evening falls and the buildings light up, it’s a small oasis of happiness on a hot summer night.
I thought I was going to see a pretend Beatles band on Tuesday, so it was a surprise to discover that it was, in fact, the BBC orchestra playing Beatles tunes. I’m not a huge fan of the Fab Four but, like most people, I know enough words to sing along.
We made ourselves comfortable and spread out the picnic, which mainly centred around chocolate chip cookies and pink wine. The energy was high; everyone was ready to dance and wave their arms in unison. 2000 people (my estimate – may be way off!) were ready to join in. The conductor bowed, the band struck, up, the singer shimmied her sparkling self onto the stage… Then what came next can only be described as, in Janice’s words: Bing Crosby sings The Beatles.
Don’t get me wrong; the orchestra was fantastic. And the singer had the most beautiful voice. But the arrangements were so dreary we ended up wanting to weep, sleep or worse. It was impossible to sing, even if you knew the lyrics, as no tunes were recognisable. It was a clever (?) take on the songs but, in my opinion, not suitable for an open-air gig where regular attendees expected to be on their feet hollering at the top of their voices and swaying as best they can in the limited space available between friends and adjacent squashed up groups.
The overall evening was great though and we had a good laugh trying to recognise each song from its lonnnggg, slowwwww intro. The ambience is always lovely and we did manage to dance a bit to the very last compilation of hits.
I can’t make this week’s concert as I’m running a Plain English training session in Staines on Tuesday, but I’ll definitely be there the following week for Queen night!
This was John and Paul’s advice in 1967: ‘Cellophane flowers of yellow and green, towering over your head. Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes and she’s gone.’ My eyes are usually hidden from the sun behind my Jackie O Ray Bans, but if you need me, you can always look for me here: @WeekendWitch.
PS: the poem I wrote about John Lennon is coincidentally on the same web page as the poem I wrote for my dad, who died 23 years ago this week at the same age as I am now. Remembering you, daddy… Never forgotten, always loved.