So pretty much after every show I go to I say to myself, I should blog about that because well, it was a great night & there has been SOOOOO many these last few years & I’m rubbish, but I genuinely want to try harder to keep a record of fun stuff on here even if only for me, so I can look back when i’m old & grey with all my cats (that I dress in random costumes of characters from my fave shows) & think yes that’s right that was an incredible night & actually have something to remind me why it was so epic.
So when you get to have a road trip & a catch up with friends you don’t get to see enough, it’s always going to be a good day. When you throw in an insanely talented Orchestra, a gorgeous venue & a vocalist with an amount of talented that just can not be summed up in one word, it’s a bloody brilliant day!
Yesterday we set off for Manchester, iPod at the ready for car singalong’s & just general catch up for the 4 or so hour drive from my place to Manchester, my friend had already driven 2 hours just to get to me, so let it be known that she is a legend, I do not know how she stays awake on those drives late at night but she always gets me home safe.
So what was the gig? Oscars for Orchestra, The Halle Orchestra to be exact with special guest vocalist the incomparable Louise Dearman, at The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. I’ve lost count of how many times i’ve been to this particular hall, but it’s always been to see Louise & always an incredible night.
Last night the Orchestra had lined up a number of Oscar winners to share with us & started with a bang with The Imperial March from Star Wars. Way to get a sci fi fans heart racing & settle us in for a fun night. Then moving on to Princess Leia’s Theme, which I can’t lie brought a tear to my eye, in a it’s so beautiful, makes me miss sitting on the couch with my Dad back in NZ watching Star Wars kinda way. There’s something about movie & i’ll add TV scores that I just love because not only is the music itself beautiful & moving, but without possibly being able to remember exactly why, it can stir up emotions in you from deep within that remind you of that movie & how it made you feel or about that characters plight throughout & it’s just truly special.
Then it was time to bring out Louise for a couple of Disney’s Oscar winners, starting with Beauty & the Beast. Who doesn’t love a bit of Disney & even more so when it’s originally sung be Celine Dionnnnnn. We’ve had the privilege of seeing Louise perform this before & loved it then to, but it’s always so lovely to see it in different venues with a different orchestra. It was a wonderful intro for those who’ve not seen Louise perform before to what they were in store for. Flawless vocals, breathing new life into old classics whilst staying true to their original beauty in her own way. Before the show began I was chatting to the lady next to me about why we were there, after calling us groupies, i’m sure as an insult, she then turned to me after Louise’s first number to say “I agree, just excellent!” Yes ma’am I can agree with you on that note. Then we moved on to one of my all time faves that often people don’t seem to appreciate as much as some of the ‘bigger’ numbers. Colours of the Wind from Pocahontas. This is such a beautiful song & my love for it was recently rekindled when I heard a complete reworking of it at a recent gig, so but a few weeks later getting to hear one of my favourite vocalists sing it was quite the treat, specially in front of a full orchestra. I don’t know what it is but there’s just some songs that lift your heart, specially when sung so beautifully. Seeing Louise perform these Disney songs does always leave me wondering why the heck Disney haven’t created a Princess in her honour yet? I mean full package right there, come on Disney, catch on.
The Halle then moved swiftly on to a rousing rendition of the theme from Dancing With Wolves John Dunbar by John Barry… I admit it wasn’t till the end of the song when Stephen Bell the incredible conductor of The Halle mentioned where it was from, that I worked it out but even so from the first few bars I was overcome with the song & had goosebumps all over & found myself tearing up without quite being able to put my finger on why, but it all became clear. Dances with Wolves is a classic, one of my favourite movies & starring one of my favourite actresses, Mary McDonnell so of course it would stir something in me, that was absolutely gorgeous to hear live. I really do not give the Orchestra’s enough credit when i go to these gigs because I always go for the vocalists, but if I didn’t enjoy the Orchestra’s so damn much I wouldn’t keep going back. The talent within that group is truly astonishing.
Next we were treated to a Streisand section, which let’s face it, if you’ve got Louise Dearman backstage it’d be a crime not to whip out some Streisand because well she’s basically a modern day Streisand but of the Westend, vocal & acting chops galore. The Way We Were is one of those all time classic’s that just every body knows & everyone has their own story to go along with it as to why it stirs so much within them. It’s a breathtaking song, tugging at the heart strings of even the most stoic amongst us. I am quite clearly not one of the stoic few, this song will always break me, especially when sung with such heart, dedication & adherence to the original, Louise soared on this & I was definitely not the only one sweeping away silent tears. Evergreen another Streisand classic, sung once again to perfection by Louise, i’ve had the privilege of hearing her perform this in a intimate gig with only her & a keyboard & now in front of this insanely talented orchestra & I can’t decide which I prefer because both were just beautiful & perfection.
The Orchestra went straight into another stirring performance, this time of the late great James Horner’s theme from Braveheart. Again it was one of the moments in the show with which I felt overcome with familiarity and knowing the song but not quite being able to place it & still feeling swept away by it. James Horner was a genius & taken from us far to soon. We then moved on to a Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves section, i’m unsure if i’ve seen this particular movie so the first extract I didn’t recognise but was obviously played delightfully by The Halle. Followed by a simply gorgeous orchestral version of Everything I Do, I Do It For You. Which of course was sung famously by Bryan Adams. As stunning and beautiful as this was, I couldn’t help but wonder what it might’ve sounded like with the dulcet tones of Louise Dearman on it, but obviously completely understand why that couldn’t happen in this concert, doesn’t stop me now wanting to hear her version somewhere else though now does it? #FanProblems.
To take us into the interval Louise rejoined the Orchestra for a what seemed an effortless performance of the infamous Skyfall. Which I have of course heard Louise sing numerous times when supporting along the Bond Tours & we saw her perform it previously with The Halle at Tatton park, which I did do a write up about & share a video of, so I wont go into too much detail here as i’ll only be repeating my praise.
The Halle kicked off act 2 with a wonderful medley of some of the music from Gigi by Lerner & Loewe, before swiftly inviting Louise back to perform the Judy Garland classic from the Wizard of Oz, Somewhere Over The Rainbow, which is another of my personal favourites & one we’ve heard Louise interpret on many occasions & in many different ways, but never quite so closely to the original & it was simply beguiling. You know when you turn to a stranger during a song as you both casually wipe away your tears of both pure joy but also sadness? That’s the Louise effect. It was also quite the treat to hear Louise sing the often forgotten intro to this song. Then it was time to revisit Disney with the Pinocchio classic, When You Wish Upon A Star. This was surely a highlight of the evening amongst my friends & I, as Louise got to finally show off the depths or should I say heights of her talents by giving us a bit of Soprano, effortless floating across those beautiful high notes. I don’t know why it is but when Louise opens up high like that it’s just a sight to behold & a sound that just astonishes, I basically sit there like this whenever we witness her soprano..
Louise sing a snippet of it back when she was in Stoke Panto, to which song am I referring? The Celine Dion classic from Titanic, My Heart Will Go On. I spoke in my Panto write up about how enthralling hearing her sing just two lines of it was so imagine our excitement when we saw the set list for this gig & knew we’d be getting to hear the full, uninterrupted version. It lived up to & surpassed all the hype we’d put behind it & more. The song alone is one of those always stick with you, everyone knows it but to hear Louise sing it…..
I think those Gif’s pretty much sum it up in a nutshell.. I can’t explain it, there are no words, you had to be there. #Dramatic
Back to a bit of John Barry with the striking music of Out of Africa. Isn’t it so bizarre when you don’t think you’ve seen a movie yet some how it’s music is still familiar to you, I think i’ve said that many times in this blog but this music whilst mostly unfamiliar still stirred me somehow. Similarly the Theme from Schindler’s List by John Williams was suspiciously familiar and unfamiliar all at the same time but nevertheless performed impeccably by this masterful orchestra.
Another highlight of the night came in the form of a singalong section of Mary Poppins music with Louise Dearman as our comedic & very encouraging back up singer. I always love when we the audience get our chance to shine, i’ll admit sometimes it’s hard to sit & not singalong, so when they take note that some songs just have to be indulged by everyone & allow us that thrill it’s always a joy. I personally have a lot of love for Mary Poppins, growing up loving the movie, being inspired by Mary herself in my career as a
educator turned super nanny & now with the UK tour capturing my heart, I was a little excited to get to hear Louise back us up in this section. A Spoonful of Sugar, Chim Chim Cher-ee, Feed The Birds, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious what more could you want? Left us all a toe tapping with a grin on our faces that’s for sure. I’m quite sure we were…
Sticking with the Disney theme for Louise’s last number we got Let It Go from Frozen, had to be done didn’t it? I admit to not even remembering how Idina sung it now after hearing Louise perform it on numerous occasions, but I am in no way complaining as her version has become the quintessential standard of the song now, there’s no going back it’s now Louise’s song for me, she hits those notes in her stride & soars through it.. refer to above gif for this too.
For the encore The Halle got our motor’s running with a uproarious performance of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang complete with all the appropriate sound effects.. I mean what a night, from Star Wars to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang it doesn’t get much better than this.. what a way to end a night, leaving us with a spring in our step ready for the long journey home.
Can’t thank my friends enough for a wonderful day, wonderful company & such a fun journey home. Who knew you could play Eye Spy between two seperate cars to make the time pass quicker. Great day!