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2005-12-10 Breda

reviewed by John

 

First of all, let me stress - it was damned cold in Holland! Just wanted to get that off my chest. Like C O L D!

 

Of course, once we got into the small (but perfectly formed) theatre, it was like an oven. I like situations like this. First of all the concert fliers call the tour 'Up close and personal', and it couldn't have been described more aptly last night. There was effectively no stage - those in the front row were on the same level as the performers. That in itself leads to a greater feeling of intimacy in the proceedings. But there was a tremendously relaxed atmosphere to the entire show. There were intermittent snatches of dialogue between the singers and the audience, and at one point Deirdre made a graceful exit only to come back on stage giggling hysterically because she couldn't find her way off from the side (apparently it was not lit). Other highlights included that dress - if ever there was an icon of smile and style, that lady is it. She always looks stunning - last night, she looked just sensational. Rianne I know had some fantastic pictures, and I shall be sending mine off to Barb later tonight (the downloading is whirring away in the background as I type - and driving me crazy, incidentally). I have one of a pair of inappropriately attired feet - standards have been sadly allowed to lapse by virtue of an alleged sprain (yeah, right). Matthew and James seem capable of managing to uphold the standards of sartorial excellence which we have come to expect. The stage looked cluttered - there was a stool there, apparently to allow the slackers (plural to disguise the identity of the real culprit) to have a quick nap when not in the spotlight. At times it became a bit like musical chairs, as if there were a contest to see who could sit on it or lean on it first. I also managed to get a very nice picture of Deirdre with David, and two very smiley ones on stage, which I find very appealing (and one unusual, since there is no sucking in of cheeks evident). Plus the odd Christmas Card picture too. David's jacket (THE jacket, one day to be MY jacket) has disappeared from the face of the earth, it seems.) Motor City, please recommend a private eye - I need somebody to do some checking, because my own suspicion is that it has been buried somewhere remote until my covetousness dies away.) Martin behaved very well, didn't hide anything, did give us a bit of down home gee-tar moosic.

 

One hidden talent came to light last night - Matthew does an INCREDIBLY close imitation of the whistling on 'The good, the bad and the ugly'. Rianne may have included the photo of him doing it. Hugo Montenegro's Orchestra had better look out. It was indisinguishable from the record.

 

Seriously, they all gave the show everything they had last night. In my eyes, the gentlemen all look like tired, but after 7 or 8 weeks of constant touring, that's hardly a surprise. There were moments which I'd normally expect to be very high volume, which were clearly intentionally toned down last night, and were all the more effective for it. It did not stop James from nailing those really high descant arrangements to 'All out of love', nevertheless. Nor did it mean the impeccable standards we have come to expect were surrendered either. And once again, thanks to Deirdre's presence, we were treated to 'The prayer', which I always find especially moving (maybe because they're siblings), beautifully executed by Matthew and Deirdre. And once again, I heard my other favourite collaborative item, 'Once in a very blue moon', the arrangement for which has undergone some significant changes since the first time I heard it performed - there's a lot more duetting throughout, as well as tender harmonies when it matters most. In fact, there were many tender harmony moments during this show, both musically and verbally. The dedications were soft, thoughtful, and in one case very touching indeed. There was talk of families and reunions, and the proceedings (almost) ended with a simply perfect rendition of Silent Night - those harmonies were priceless, at which point at least one member of the audience was starting to get nostalgic.

 

Great to see everyone, old friends and new ones.