Between Here And Gone which received generous applause from the fans who had filled the venue.
I was still letting the beauty of the event wash over me as Mary performed The Dreaming Road, from TIME’SEX’LOVE and the swooping strings and understated brass instrumentation were just perfect; leaving me a little misty eyed.
Sadly, most of the other songs came and went without hardly registering; even I Am A Town sounded virtually the same as everything that preceded it, carrying on the downbeat melancholic theme that had pervaded from the beginning of the evening. Mary’s interactions between songs were limited with only a handful actually being introduced by name and by the time I recognised Come On, Come On I was becoming increasingly jaded with the sameness’ of every song and arrangement; with my notes being more about the people around me than the music itself. One note is well worth mentioning was that for the first time in a lot of years not a single cameraphone was raised all night; which made a lovely change.
Another thing was that from my seat the conductor on his pedestal managed to obscure my view of the singer; which begs questions about the stage set up.
When the orchestra performed the opening bars to Stones In The Road it received warm applause of recognition and following the first up-tempo song of the evening (over an hour had gone by) the applause at the end was almost deafening; which was noticeable in itself as after previous songs the applause was generous without ever being enthusiastic.
In summation, the Royal Northern Sinfonia Orchestra were amazing; as you’d expect, but the selection of songs (pretty much the whole album) meant they never got out of second gear and at times the singers’ voice wasn’t quite strong enough to match them. Very rarely did she manage to combine everything at hand to produce something memorable.
Afterwards, I met some friends in the foyer and while chatting they used a phrase that I overheard twice more on the way to my car: ‘The concert lacked any oomph!” Which was as good a way to describe it as I can express.