Fantastic concert at Bridgewater Hall Brian with a good
mix of old and new numbers. I think the new album
is your best for a long time. Hope we see you
at Liverpool Phil next time around.
I set off from home and had a steady train journey across
the Warwickshire countryside to Birmingham New Street
station to catch the train to Manchester. Naturally
the station was a busy place and I thought the checks
being made on those going down to the platform for the
same train as me were all part of the security policy
in these times. However, on being asked 'Did I
have any alcohol' warning bells should have rung.
I reached the platform there was a sea of red and white
and I was one of a only a few not sporting a shaved
head (really I haven't), a tattoo or several (not anywhere)
or wearing an England strip of one design of another,
or all three together. Me being a football free
zone did not know England were playing Jamaica on Saturday
afternoon at Old Trafford ground! I must have looked
a bit concerned as a police woman advised me she had
seen much worse, things SHOULD be all right as there
were lots of families, and it would be much worse when
they were all coming back that night!
the train came alongside the platform there was no 'women
and children first' - not even a lady with a baby in
a pram or two people each with a leg in plaster and
using crutches were given consideration. There were
far too few seats for the number of people allowed onto
the train and I ended up sitting for an hour and a half
on my case near to the exit door. I decided to
send Jackie, who was bringing her children Toby and
Imogen with her, a text (on Hogwarts Express so they
told me - but let me tell you it was nothing like Thomas
the Tank or Ivor the Engine on my train!). Apparently
they were surrounded by red and white as well.
arrived at Picadilly Station within a few minutes of
each other and made our way to Jurys Inn to await the
Scottish side of the party arriving, as in Catherine
and Helen. Claire Rodgers, who had identified us on
the escalator in Belfast last November, had bravely
agreed to come and meet us all at Jurys and kindly recommended
and booked a restaurant for a pre-concert meal. Thanks
for this Claire, we all enjoyed the Mexican food, Sangria,
and your company. It was a lovely evening for
a walk back to the Bridgewater Hall and good to see
the place was very busy.
had great seats and an interesting conversation was
going on behind us before the concert started.
Two mature ladies, whose tone and manner of their conversation
reminded me of when Les Dawson and Roy Barraclough used
to 'do' Cissie and Ada (for those who can remember that
far back), were discussing the Eurovision and thought
the UK's entry was no good at all and Brian's was nothing
special! I had the biggest button on my lip as
I was wanting to turn round and say 'NOTHING SPECIAL!
- what are you talking about......'
Mescall just gets better and he went down well with
the audience, who were a very strong gospel choir when
he asked us to be so for 'The More I See The Less I
Understand'. As always there were too many empty seats
when the support act is on stage - those who did not
see him missed another Irishman in the ascending.
The queue for purchasing and signing of his CD at the
interval went on and on, and he was in the foyer at
the end of the evening for those who did not catch him
first time round.
it was time for Brian and the band - the lights went
down and a song started - for those who have not yet
experienced this new introduction - think 'Rocky I,
II, or however many there were, and 'Eye Of The Tiger'
- I don't want to spoil it by saying too much more.
We were half expecting Brian to come down from the ceiling
or make some sort of spectacular entrance, but he rushed
onto the stage and immediately went into 'What You Wish
For' - a really upbeat tempo song to start the show.
We were treated to a further three new songs from Homebird,
including 'Every Song Is A Cry For Love' (with the bended
knee) and Silver Chains (so, so lovely), plenty of older
favourites and LOTS of chat from Brian, which is what
The time flew by and all too soon Brian was explaining
how he would be hiding behind the door in the hopes
we would want an encore - this we got in the form of
You Raise Me Up - which went down a storm and generated
a standing ovation. The signing queue was the
longest I have ever seen - I think the staff at the
hall had never witnessed anything quite like it and
were unprepared as to how long it would take for everyone
to have a turn - and give us all a turn Brian did.
He must have been kerpoopitated by the time Aisling
(and her Eurovision photo album) came to the table as
the very last person. We just used the time to
catch up with some familiar faces, Julie Lawrence and
David and Andrew, Aisling and Majela (and to look at
the photos and hear about THE trip), and sit and have
a chat amongst ourselves until the line reduced considerably.
We then retired back to Jurys for a glass of pop (!)
and to see Claire safely into her taxi. Claire
it was lovely to meet you and we hope our company was
not too much of an ordeal for you! Hope you can
join us again sometime. Sunday was spent more leisurely
and we parted company at the tram stop - Jackie, Toby
and Imogen heading for Starbucks and Helen, Catherine
and I for Salford Quays for a bit of retail therapy
and then what turned out to be lunch al fresco - by
the water in Manchester!
again another lovely time with great company plus lots
of laughter and memories. Gina and Pat - we hope
we can all be together at another venue sometime in
the not too distant future and Claire - hope you can